Friday, February 26, 2010

Blog Tour: Out With The In Crowd (Review)

She knew changing her life wouldn't be easy--but she never expected it to be this hard.

With those opening thoughts, Stephanie Morrill has introduced readers with the second book in the "Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt" series - Out With The In Crowd.

In this novel, Skylar has vowed to change her partying ways, and continue to figure out what becoming a Christian means to her.

Although, Skylar soon learns that giving up her partying ways is easy - changing her friends and dealing with things at school and home, as well as figuring out who she truly is, is the hard part. Read the First Chapter: Click here
 
What I Thougth
I liked Morrill's writing style. The book was easy to read and full of interesting characters.

I liked how she portrayed Skylar's struggles in a realistic manner - how she deals with her parents' pending divorce, a younger sister's pregnancy, her boyfriend and her past and former friends.

I'll admit, I was a bit lost at times, not having read the first novel. It was kind of like jumping into a mini-series in mid stream. However, I think this complete series would be one I could safely pass along to the middle school girls I work with.

While Skylar is a senior in high school, I'm not sure this book would appeal to older girls. However, I know many of my gals - especially those in seventh, eight and probably ninth grade - would read Skylar's story with interest.

Morrill attacks some "tough" subjects in a light and easy to read way - without a lot of "preaching." It truly shows a young girl struggling with changing who she is - as a Christian - without losing the quirky things that make her unique.

One thing that jumped out to me, is how Skylar attempted to change herself based upon clothes and, I assume, other "outward" markings - to show that she was a Christian. I think this is a realistic idea - I know as a teenager, I thought being a Christian meant I couldn't listen to anything but Contemp. Christian music. I thought my Christian faith meant I had to live in a certain "mold" or "ideal."

I think (remember, I haven't read the first book), Morrill is trying to use Skylar's story to show that becoming a Christian is more of an internal transformation than outward change.

I will probably purchase the first and third books, so I can put all three in our church's library (the girls have been asking for good, solid Christian novels.) I can see these books providing me with a way to talk to some of the girls about a variety of issues in a non-threatening way.

Other Books In the Series
Book 1: Just Me, Different
Getting a fresh start is harder than it looks.

Skylar Hoyt is a girl who seems to have it all--she's pretty, popular, and has a great-looking boyfriend. Her senior year should be the best one yet. But a horrible experience at a summer party has changed everything. Now she's vowing to make better choices, including going back to church. But as Skylar tries to gain new perspective on life, the world as she knows it begins to fall apart.

Her parents are constantly fighting. Her younger sister has a big secret that Skylar is forced to keep. The guy she's dating is annoyingly jealous. And the new guy down the street is just plain annoying. In the midst of the chaos, Skylar starts to wonder who her real friends are and, even more importantly, who she is.  
Read the first chapter by clicking here

Book 3: So Over It (July 2010 Release)

Senior year is over and Skylar Hoyt is ready to forgive and forget. Or at least forget. She wants a fresh start where people don't know about her partying past or her younger sister and her baby. A place where she won't run in to her ex-boyfriend every time she leaves the house. When she gets the chance to spend the summer in Hawaii with her grandparents, Skylar jumps at the chance to get out of town. But when her sister needs her, Skylar has to swallow her pride and come back home. Will she be strong enough to rise above the gossip and live the life God wants for her?

The final book in The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series, So Over It shows teen readers that forgiveness is always available.


About Stephanie Morrill 
Stephanie Morrill is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Teen Lit writers' group. Morrill is the author of Me, Just Different and Out with the In Crowd, and she also serves in youth ministry. She lives in Kansas with her husband and young daughter.

--From Stephanie's Website

There’s a reason I write fiction and not memoirs. My life—while chaotic and wonderful—wouldn’t make a page turner. But for those who still want to know, here you go:

Writing has always been a part of me. Some girls played with Barbies or Polly Pocket, but I chose to write. Mostly about horses. And sometimes dynamite, though not in the same story. Now I write the types of books that are really hard to describe in a way that makes them sound interesting. 

When people ask me what they’re about, I always start with, “Well, it’s about this girl…” and then fumble around for awhile until their eyes glaze over. What many of my stories deal with is that moment when you realize things you were raised to believe in—God, goodness, peace—aren’t always embraced by the world around you. 

I remember when I discovered that not everybody believed in Jesus, or even a Creator, and having to figure out how my religious beliefs fit into the reality of my world. This happens in so many different ways that I’m constantly thinking of new tactics to explore this pivotal moment.

In regards to my actual life, I spent the first part of my childhood in California. Long enough to be influenced, to have roots there, but not long enough to really be “from” there. I did the bulk of my growing up in Kansas City. It’s where I went to high school, met my husband, and worked a few lousy jobs. 

Ben and I make our life here now, along with our baby girl, McKenna, and dog, K.C. They’re the most interesting things about me. Without them I’m just a book junkie with a crazy thing for coffee, who would rather sit in front of my computer and write than go to a party.

Which is why I make stuff up.

Want to know more about Morrill and her books? Visit http://stephaniemorrillbooks.com

About Revell, The Publisher
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life.  They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet. For more information, visit www.RevellBooks.com.

Note: As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of this book by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. This review was not influenced by a free book - just in case you (or the FTC) were worried about this detail.

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