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Growing Pains;Kendras Diaries by K.P. Smith

Growing Pains;Kendras Diaries

by K.P. Smith

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A lovely coming of age book perfect for middle schoolers coming to grips with the complexities of their future and their families. Kendra doesn't have an easy life, her parents are always fighting about money, she is stressing about making the cheer-leading team, and she is having to make a decision about which high school she'll go to the following year. All of her troubles seem insurmountable and she has no idea how to handle the stress. Thankfully her best friend, her younger sister, and a cute basketball boy try their best to ease the stress. Teens will relate to the dysfunctional family dynamics, the school drama, and the hints of first romance. Set in New Orleans during the mid-eighties, there is a nice void of cellphones and social media which rids Kendra of twenty-first century struggles. Maddening at times, readers will appreciate how Kendra chooses to overcome her struggles and still try and stay positive when everything seems to be falling apart around her. A great middle grade-read!

I received this book for free from the author in return for my honest, unbiased opinion. ( )
  ecataldi | Jun 22, 2015 |
There were certain elements of this book that I really loved and others that drove me nuts! So, let me start off with the things I loved :)

Kendra. She is flawed, she is real, she is African-American and she is facing real problems that many other young girls face. Kendra's one of those characters that isn't overly perfect and can be related to easily. I love that she is an African-American living in New Orleans, because it is representative of the population there and, although she could easily have been written as white, it is a nice change in a market flooded with white protagonists. (As a teacher this is a very frustrating fact). I especially love that she is a normal 13-year-old girl that isn't obsessed with one boy, and constantly going on about how he is her life.

The other characters in the book are also believable and again the situations were believable and relateable for a younger teen audience. Kendra goes through a number of experiences that most girls will. Preparing to enter high school, first crush, fighting with her best friend, first kiss, jealousy, arguing parents. Her life is very normal. And that leads to my first issue.

Normal can be, well, boring. There was no sense of urgency in this novel. Things happened and Kendra learned to move on. We didn't necessarily see or feel her confusion or despair when her dad walked out on them, and the love interest is only mildly developed. As much as I am for non-obsessive teen love, preteen and younger teens tend toward the obsessive, especially with first love. I think more narration about her feels would have given more importance to the issues she was facing.

Setting was another area I thought the author should have given more consideration to. New Orleans is a city full of life and culture. Sadly there wasn't really any details that made New Orleans different from any other city in the US. But more important was the time frame. It took me until I was almost half way through the book to realize this story was taking place during the 1980's. Later on there were references to 80's specific people or items that made it clear, but then it felt more like a trip down memory lane for the author. Will today's teens really want to read two pages of comparisons between the the love lives of Kendra and her friend being compared to those on Dallas?

The dialogue was the final area I felt that needed strengthening. Listen to any teen, even way back in the 80's and they spoke casually, using contractions and slang. Everything the characters said sounded very formal. And from my experiences living in the South for over ten years, people down there are anything but formal in their speech. I just wanted to shake these characters and tell them to speak normally. This is Smith's debut novel, and I think that as the series continues Smith will find a more natural voice for her characters. ( )
  AngelaFristoe | Jul 28, 2012 |
Title: Growing Pains: Kendra’s Diaries

Author: KP Smith

Publisher: Doin It Publishing

Release date (or anticipated release): 2011

ISBN: 9780615390307

Specs: paperback and ePub/mobi versions are available

Website (optional): www.kendrasdiaries.com or http://doinitpublishing.com/

Category: Young Adult (YA)

Review Summary:

Kendra, the oldest sister, has to share with her younger sister, Patrice, about her parents’ verbal attacks and daily scrabbles usually around managing their finances and providing for the family.

K.P. Smith wrote a cutesy, witty, and fun chick lit with some moral lessons and interweaves some faith-based concepts in this teen literature. She also briefly covered in the first chapter on ethnic issues especially in New Orleans that was cleverly done in a humorous way for teens (and adults) who reads their copy.

Dream Moment(s): As a teen girl, Kendra wondered when her countless prayers would be answered by a Mighty God and pondered on sayings that most believers said to her, “You have to wait on Him” and “He’s always on time.” Which she beg to differ, since on her watch seemed to be very late and not sure how long she had to wait for her prayers to be answered. Kendra later realized based on one’s life choices that there will be consequences but not to quit or be a quitter even through the most difficult times. As a reader and reviewer, I also liked how she put in the Creole lingo/dialect in the reading.

Dream 4 More: Kendra Foster may have undergone some of the same things that other teens may have gone through such as argumentative parents over the household expenses; self-esteem; and building their confidence and faith in accomplishing their dreams while in junior high (8th grade). Kendra tries out for a cheerleading team, after two years, she finally makes the team. She works on her confidence and trusts in her instincts that she can accomplish anything her heart desires; making her dreams a reality. This character is relatable and can help encourage and edify other teens going through similar issues at this prime time in their lives. Moreover, I would recommend this novel to pre-teens (tweens) from 11-12 years old to older teens.

Dream 4 More Reviews has received Growing Pains: Kendra’s Diaries by the author for a book review.

Dream 4 More Reviews,

Adrienna Turner

Sweet Dreams

www.dream4more.webs.com ( )
  Dream4MoreReviews | Apr 14, 2012 |
Growing Pains; Kendras Dairies is the first book in the series chronicling the journey of Kendra Foster from adolescence to adulthood.I aspire to encourage, entertain, and inspire young adults. Life has its ups and downs, its bumps and its bruises. But with perseverance, determination, and faith you can be all you were born to be.
Never Give Up!
I initially had doubts as to whether I would enjoy this book....but I really did enjoy it. I think it is suitable for 12 years upwards really. I could identify with the childhood/adolescence of Kendra, I was that kid who couldn't do dance classes because her dad thought them a waste of money, so I understood where Kendra was coming from. I remember lying in bed listening to parents arguing, having the friend whose parents relationship with each other and their daughter appeared perfect. This book deals with some pretty heavily emotional stuff, from divorce and death to getting a part in the school play and having a boy ask you out or not ask you out as the case may be. I think although the cover is kind of colourful and depicts how Kendra feels it doesn't do the book full justice, as the book also has happy things within it not just problems.
I also could identify the fact kendra's grandparent not liking Kendras dad , and how that affects the whole family. The book touches on lots of different relationships, the one with Kendra and her mum, where her mum confides things to Kendra she perhaps should not have as she later regrets it. I enjoyed reading of the relationship between Kendra and her younger sister Patrice, at time Kendra is more in the mothering mode than her mother to Patrice. Kendr's rlationship with her dad is awkward as they only ever talk sport (I remember my own dads disappointment at me being a girl and not wanting to watch the rugby/football etc)You also see the relationship with Kendra and Katrina and how they grow apart and then back together only for an unexpected twist to separate them again. there is also the whole which school will I get into scenario, though the system is slightly different over here in the UK the dilemmas attached to changing school are still similar. I found this book really thought provoking and think it would be useful in schools for the 11 and 12 year olds to read to help prepare them for what may happen in life. The book also touched on predjudice, not a simple black and white one, the kind that goes on within the blacks and whites, the shades of black etc.
I just want to thank K P Smith for sending me this book to read and I apologise fr how long it took me to get round to it due to illnesses etc. I found this book cathartic and a really relaxing read. There was something happening most of the time as several characters stories were being played out all at the same time. A very thought provoking book! I would also like to add the ending left it so there could be another book and I have to say I would really want to read it too. ( )
  Sanz71 | Nov 21, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0615390307, Paperback)

Growing Pains; Kendras Dairies is the first book in the series chronicling the journey of Kendra Foster from adolescence to adulthood. I aspire to encourage, entertain, and inspire young adults. Life has its ups and downs, its bumps and its bruises. But with perseverance, determination, and faith you can be all you were born to be. Never Give Up!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:20 -0400)

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