Book: Waves of Light

Waves of Light  by Naomi Kinsman
Reviewed by Lori Twichell
Genre: YA
Publisher: Zonderkidz
Date: April 23, 2012

Things are getting even more tense in Owl Creek, Michigan. Just when Sadie is finally feeling like this might be home, chaos erupts again and this time it threatens to destroy everything Sadie knows and loves.

First, Frankie is moving to New York to live with her mom. That’s a big adjustment for Sadie since she and Frankie are now friends. She and Frankie have developed a love for art, drawing and for their art teacher, Vivian. Sadie has some fun ideas on how she and Frankie can still be art partners and work together on fun projects. She has plans to share those ideas with Frankie in a really cool way too.

Her art teacher, Vivian, is also putting together some pieces for a big art show in New York so Sadie hopes she’ll be able to visit Frankie then. But on the way home from dropping Frankie off at her mother’s place, tragedy strikes Vivian’s house. A flash flood not only wipes out everything that Vivian had prepared for her art show, but it also wipes out her home and almost everything in it.

Sadie is utterly devastated for Vivian and the loss of everything she’s ever known. In the middle of this horrible tragedy for her friend, Sadie is also dealing with her mother leaving town to try another new treatment for her chronic fatigue issues. There’s no telling whether things are going to go well for her mother or not and that’s a huge amount of stress bearing down on Sadie because of this. And there’s a new girl in town, Annabelle. She’s really pretty and really smart and everyone seems to love her. A lot. Including Andrew.

This book was an amazing journey for one of my favorite characters, Sadie Douglas. As a young teenage girl, she’s dealing with so much more than people realize. She’s tough. She tries to handle it all on her own. It doesn’t work so well for her. With everything swirling around her, chaos nipping at every moment of her life, and very little peace to be had, Sadie definitely hits a breaking point in this book. And who can blame her?

Naomi Kinsman’s writing stays fresh and tight – growing these young characters instead of letting them stagnate into caricatures of teenagers. It would be easy to let Sadie slide into misery and much angst with the plot revolving around so much chaos. Thankfully, Kinsman handles the situations with a deft lightness that keeps Sadie’s struggles realistic and dramatic instead of spiraling toward overly dramatic plot twists. Sadie’s friends and family love her and care for her, but are unsure of how to help her. Sadie isn’t sure how to help herself in the middle of overwhelming situations.

I love that Sadie doesn’t always have all the answers. She makes mistakes just like the rest of us and she learns from them as well. She doesn’t degrade into a whiny, angsty teenager. She remains a character that we all love and care for as we’re reading. A few times in this book I reached the point of tears for this young girl. I wanted to wrap my arms around her and just give her love and affection. I’ve prayed for the Lord to show me if there are any of my daughter’s friends who need this sort of love and support from an adult. Even my daughter said she wished she could be Sadie’s friend and help her.

Kinsman shines in this series and this latest entry in Sadie’s life shows that she has no intention of slowing down. I loved this book!

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