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New Beginnings

4.81  ·  Rating details ·  27 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Ida and Engen's 13-year-old friendship is altered when the death of their friend comes between them. Engen, guilt-ridden over Janelle's passing, has become violent. Ida, in her grief, attempts to fill the loss with a one-night stand, which leaves her pregnant. As punishment, their parents force them to join a program called Youth of America Help a Nation, and they are sent ...more
Kindle Edition
Published February 8th 2020
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Rachel Stanley
Oct 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
New Beginnings by Janet Olson is a YA Coming of Age story that focuses on Ida following the death of her best friend. In the aftermath of her friends death, in a moment of stupidity, she has a one night stand and ends up pregnant. Her parents 'punish' her by sending her to Africa as part of a scheme whereby the youth of America 'volunteer' (Ida certainly didn't volunteer thank-you very much!) to help out in the community. Ida's role is in the orphanage where she works for the sexy-as-sin Lev, wh ...more
N.N. Light
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I went into this book with no expectations and therefore, left with none fulfilled. The story appears to be about an older teen who is pregnant and off to a school-sponsored trip to Africa. The odd aspect of this is her family thought it was a bright idea to have her baby in Africa instead of Minnesota. Not casting aspersions in any way, but one would surmise pre and post-natal care is probably better in Minnesota.

The book is set in the year... I have no idea. I think it is loosely set in possib
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
From the get go, I knew this wasn’t going to be a typical YA coming of age tale. Olson expertly crafts her characters with realism and humanity. Main character Ida is perfectly flawed, and her journey to finding purpose in her life makes this book a page-turner. The supporting characters that Olson has created are amazing too- loyal Engen, irresistible Lev, and Ida’s hilarious little brother Paul (who might be one of the best written characters I’ve read in a book in a long time—I would die for ...more
Jessica Cantwell
Dec 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A story as hot as temperatures in Africa!

I heard great things about this book and it did not disappoint! I could not put this down and when I did, the story stayed with me (even in my dreams) until I picked it up again and finished, which didn’t take long! Reading about Ida brought me back to my 17 year old self! To the similar teenage experiences I had and how I grew from being sent away as well. Needless to say, this story resonated with me on a whole other level. The characters are genuine,
Gill D. Anderson
Nov 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The characters are well developed and easy to relate to. This is a poignant novel that depicts a whole myriad of emotions for each character including love, hate and jealousy! After their mutual friend dies, the dynamics change for Ida and Engen . The story unravels further as they travel together to Uganda.....
Nannette Kreitzman
Oct 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Bring on the sequel!

New Beginnings is a story of friendship, love, desire, loyalty, obligation, and all the many blurred lines in between. Olson captures the angst of approaching adulthood when every decision is momentous and which path to follow is never clear. This was an engaging read which left me eager for the continuing story.
Bethany Clark
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Can book 2 be done already?!? I need to know what happens!
Ida tragically loses her best friend, and in a moment of stupidity she gets pregnant by a boy she doesn’t even like. Her parents see her spieling out of control and decide to send her to Africa for 6 months to get her life back on track.
But they send her PREGNANT - not what I would expect but who am I to judge?
Africa truly changes her life for the better in more ways then one.
The one part of the story that drove me CRAZY was Ida leadi
Bernice Burgos
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing

If you’re into YA novels with a mix of drama and deep romance. Then this book is for you!

Synopsis: Ida Denmark is a 17-year-old girl from Minnesota going through the motions of grief. The death of her best friend left her mentally drained, depressed, and caused her to have an unfortunate one night stand that left her pregnant. To make matters worst, as punishment, her parents shipped her to Africa to join Youth of American Help a Nation (YAHAN). A humanitarian program that is, somewhat, simil
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Janet Olson’s debut YA novel New Beginnings is a must read! Janet sent us her book and we are so grateful!!! I picked this book up and the next thing I knew, it was several hours later and I had finished it. What a great story!

Ida is a pregnant teen sent to Africa to learn from her “mistakes”. Her best friend Engen is also sent. Their “punishment” is to volunteer for 6 months with an orphanage and its surrounding village.
Engen and Ida are still reeling from the sudden death of their best friend
Sarah Hill
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I cracked the spine to this book! I had no idea it was going to be the story it was and I am SO very glad I chose to bump this one up my ever growing TBR list! It was an unexpected pager turner that made me lose sleep because I COULD NOT put it down! My husband literally had to pry it from my hands when we had things we had go do. The characters Ida and Lev evenly immature at times which makes me love them both because they both hurt each other a ...more
Michelle Hillstrom
Sep 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Janet Olson’s “New Beginnings” is far from a typical young adult romance. It’s also a fish-out-of-Water, surprise baby, friends-to-lovers, everyone sees it but them, love triangle that takes place at some point in the future and spends the majority of the time in set in Africa.
While I had a hard time relating to the characters and felt the storyline was a little slow, it was an interesting and unique enough story to keep me reading and I think the second half of the book was better than the firs
Kimmey Fitts
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A story every teenager should read!
5/5 Star Review!

Janet Olsen has written a story called New Beginnings that I think every teenager should read. It should be part of school curriculum. It is a coming of age tale for a young girl named Ida, who finds herself pregnant after a one night stand. She has lost her best friend to death and her other best friend is acting angry since the death. The two are sent to Africa to volunteer. She meets Lev while helping at the orphanage, as he is in charge ther
Alice Gent
Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Sweet love triangle involving teenagers working in an African orphanage.

Easy to read, gripping and very well written. Not a typo in sight!

To start with I found it a bit tricky to get my head around the MC being so gorgeous that every super attractive boy was head over heels for her, whether she was interested or not. However as the story progressed and the characters grew, I could understand it more. They were all very well developed and genuinely felt real, and all morally grey.
I loved how Ida
Heather Garvin
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
T.C. Emerys
Nov 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Finally, a YA heroine who feels real!

Usually I have issues with YA leads. They are predictably juvenile and their narration can be very... trite.
I appreciate that representing the teenage mind in a narrator is not an easy job but I do feel that they are not representative of how I thought and acted as a teenager.
Now enter Ida Denmark, a YA heroine without the pitfalls of naivity and immaturity. She's witty, she knows her own mind and she's complex.
Here Olson has avoided creating a stereotypical
Lana Orndorff
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such a great YA read!!!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel, and I don't often read much YA fiction anymore. However, the summary drew me in, and I was not disappointed. Olson does a fantastic job of creating characters you care for and tugging at your heart strings. I imagine a teenage version of myself would have fallen for Lev or Engen, or more likely, both. The plot moved quickly and naturally, and Olson's writing is flawless. This story is about young love, but also about finding yoursel
Bruce Spydar
Oct 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
New beginnings … where do I start? Just read it!
After their close mutual friend dies, Ida and Engen are left with their relationship confused. Ida has just become pregnant after a one-night stand, and they have both been enrolled for a few months in a development programme in Africa to give them life and work experience. Neither are keen to go, but they still travel to Uganda, where Ida sparks the love interest from Lev, her boss at the orphanage … and the relationships develop. The characters
Jess Molyneux
Jan 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I was surprised how much I liked this story. Obviously, I felt for heroine Ida as it seemed incredible that any parents would send their daughter away to camp when she was pregnant, but I was drawn in by the relationships between the teenagers there. Highly recommended for older teens and adults looking for something different.

Torri Heat
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It was a unique YA read, and I constantly found myself loving one of the main leads and then swapping to loving the other. I still don’t know who I love more! Ida is an interesting character, one who reacts to a teen pregnancy in a way that I feel like will resonate with young girls. The setting and the change in all of the characters as they spent their time in Africa really struck a chord with me as well. All in all, an excellent debut novel - for teens or adults!
Taryn Sloane
Sep 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A story that will wrench your heart out and have pulling for the characters who walk off the pages. The story will keep you guessing about what will happen next. It is a true love story that delves into the different emotions and the highs and lows of romance. This was my first book by this author and am so glad I found her. I'm looking forward to reading more! ...more
L.C Ainsworth
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved it. I know exactly how Ida felt because I too was in love with a friend and had convinced myself that being with him would be a bad idea.
Ida and Engen just drew me in; they felt like old friends I hadn't seen in a long time.
I cannot wait for book 2
Nik's Nook
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ida's life is in shambles. Her best friend unexpectedly died, and Ida, also unexpectedly, gets pregnant. Her parents, hoping to help her find some sort of direction in life, have her apply for a program that would send her to Africa for a mission project. Engen, who has been Ida's best friend and sometimes more for years, also applies for the same program. Off they go to Africa, and, while they are trying to figure out their feelings for each other, in walks Lev Rosen, Ida's incredibly attractiv ...more
Jen Christensen
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  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
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