I'm tired of superficial books. Books that have no real value. My husband always says that fiction is worthless. I disagree. GOOD fiction still can change hearts and minds. GOOD fiction can still spark the imagination and serve as amazing conversation starters. I have children who love to read and I am very excited when I find an author and a group of books that are interesting and can be used to help train children.
Nicole O'Dell is one of those authors. Her Scenarios series for tween girls deals with hefty issues and give readers the opportunity to make decisions and see possible outcomes based on their decisions. If you have a tween ages 11-13 or so, these are books for you. I believe with the subject matter that 11 is probably the youngest I would let my daughters read these.
I read these books and then had my 11 year old daughter read them as well. We were able to use them to have some serious discussions. Discussions on subjects that some parents may find difficult to bring up with their children.
I decided to share my daughter's synopses and opinions on the book here for you.
Magna, Book 3 - Scenarios series
Molly, Sara and Jess want jobs at the ultimate girls clothing store more than anything, but only Molly gets the job. Then Sara and Jess need Prom dresses, but don't have the money. That's when they figure thay and "borrow" dresses from Molly's employer.
Will Molly help her friends or report them? The choice is yours to make.
I like this book because Molly acted like girls do today and it seemed very realistic. I like being able to decide what ending the book has.
and Making Waves, Book 4
Kate loves to swim and decides to join the swim team for her sophomore year. She is practicing all the time. She realizes that it can be tiring and soon finds herself using energy drinks. At the championship she "needs" more. She is offered illegal drugs to imporve her swimming. What will she do? What would you do?
I liked this book because Kathe is faced with many situations girls face today. It showed consequences could be of taking drugs.
Q & A with Nicole O’Dell
Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
A: I have six kids ranging in age from 18 all way down to my toddler triplets. I work from home with all of my kiddos underfoot, which presents challenges of its own but has also been a huge blessing. I’m also a returning college student and the youth leader at my church.
Q: What has drawn you to writing for the YA market?
A: Fear! Seriously.
When I was a young girl, my mom was my hero. I really believed that she could do anything and that she knew everything. Somehow, when I entered my early teen years, that all changed. I became angry and really gave her a hard time. I regret much of those years now that I see the truth of them. My mom is now my very best friend. I wish I had known then what I know now and had some kind of grasp on just how temporary all of that angst and confusion really was.
Ever since I had my daughters, I have feared those years. My parenting has really been shaped by my desire to avoid as much of that destruction as possible. My heart’s desire is to reach hormonal, confused, pre-teen girls, and to protect them from themselves, and their families from the confusion that can ensue as the girls face those life changes.
Q: Tell us a little about your novels...
A: In the Scenarios series, each main character is faced with many choices and moral dilemmas. Eventually, they find that their choices have led them into a situation that requires them to make a very difficult and potentially life-altering moral decision. When the story has fully unfolded, and the main character arrives at that moment of truth, the reader makes the big decision for her and then turns to the corresponding section in the book where the resulting circumstances unfold.
This format places the responsibility for those decisions squarely on the reader’s shoulders, in hopes that she will learn from her personal experience as she lives it through the eyes of the book's character. She will learn the importance of good decisions as well as the truth about forgiveness and grace. Even when poor choices are made, the redemptive power of Christ is evident as forgiveness is sought, offered and received.
Nicole O’Dell and her husband Wil have six wonderful children, the most recent additions being triplets, born in August 2008. Nicole and Wil recently began a youth group at their church for grades 7-12 where Nicole focuses on the teaching, Bible study application, service outreach planning and evangelism aspects of the group. She also works with parents to help foster open and healthy lines of parent/teen communication. Nicole enjoys speaking at other churches, youth groups and parenting groups to offer insight into Godly navigation of those rough teen years. Over the years, Nicole has worked as a youth director, a Bible study leader for women and teens, a counselor at a crisis pregnancy center and was a veteran camp counselor for over a decade.