About the Book
Book: Finding True North
Author: Dianne Beck
Genre: YA Fiction
Release Date: January 31, 2023
Finding True North
North Carolina Simon hates her name. As a fourteen-year-old girl growing up in the 1970s, she has a lot of challenges. People not only make fun of her name, but also scoff at her eccentric family. Dad’s a hoarder, Mom’s an unpredictable artist, and her older sister lives with an autism diagnosis. After a humiliating middle school event shatters her confidence as a singer, North determines to break free from the stigma surrounding her family.
As she starts high school, North tells people to call her Carol. Armed with a new name, she updates her hair and clothes, befriends a popular boy in hopes of joining his band, distances herself from her two longtime friends, and avoids being seen with her adoring and dependent sister. Everything seems to be going according to plan until her sister suddenly disappears.
Carol is forced to face the fact that fitting in and being popular have come at a cost, and that the sister she might lose could have the answer to what she’s been looking for all along.
Finding True North is a prequel to Sticks and Stones, but each can be read as stand-alone novels.
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I absolutely loved this novel. It’s such a sweet story about a girl finding her true self, but also finding her true self in Scripture. North is ashamed of her name, her family, and her life in general. She wants to be cool and to be recognized for her singing. She’s tired of being made fun of, of being associated with her sister, Aria, and of her dad and his hoarding problem.
There’s much about this book I enjoyed. North is a character that I feel many could relate to. And while fiction, I’m sure her story is somewhat similar to many people’s reality. I also loved the themes of faith weaved throughout the book, and how Beck ends on such an encouraging and hopeful note.
My favorite part of the book, however, are the characters themselves. North, of course, but also her friends–Ronnie and Matthew. They have such good hearts that look out for North and her sister, Aria, who was my all-time favorite character. My heart ached for her, but she had such a positive outlook on life, never giving up on her parents, always encouraging her sister, and having such a sweet, childlike faith that I admire and strive for.
I’d highly recommend this book to young adult girls. I’ll be on the lookout for other Dianne Beck novels and will also try to pick up her already published book, Sticks and Stones.
I had received a copy of the book as part of the Celebrate Lit Blogging Team and was required to give an honest review.
About the Author
Dianne Beck spent much of her career teaching students ranging from Kindergarten through adult before achieving her dream of publishing her first novel, Sticks and Stones. She hopes young people and adults can find faith and strength in her stories. When not writing or reading a good book, she savors every moment possible with family and friends, and loves a good steaming cup of coffee or tea. Visit her author website at diannebeck.com.
More from Dianne
One of the things I love most about being an author of Christian fiction is showing readers how God is working in the lives of my characters, just like he’s working in each of our lives. While I hope readers see how my main characters are wrestling with and growing in faith, my side characters actually play a huge role. In both my novels I have a supporting character who is unique and often viewed as quirky or weak to the world around them. By showing how God loves, guides, and equips these characters, I hope to encourage anyone who has ever felt weak or out of place, which I think all of us have at some point. I also hope it reminds readers that God is often found in unexpected people and places.
In Finding True North, I spent a significant amount of time developing the character of Aria, who is main character North’s older sister. Aria is autistic, and during the 1970s, the time this book was set, autism wasn’t well understood. Because of this, many people don’t give Aria much of a chance, and miss out on all the depth and beauty she has to offer.
My inspiration for Aria came from two Bible verses: 1 Corinthians 1:27 (ESV), which says, “God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong,” along with “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.” Philippians 4:4-7 (ESV). Aria may be the kind of character who would be looked down on by many in the world, but she is used powerfully by God. One of the ways she does is with her extreme joy and bold love of the Lord. These characteristics are what ultimately impact and shape North as the story moves forward.
If you enjoy Finding True North, check out my first novel, Sticks and Stones, and stay tuned for the Sticks and Stones sequel, currently in the works!
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Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 16
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 17
Cover Lover Book Review, September 18
Artistic Nobody, September 19
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 19
lakesidelivingsite, September 20
Locks, Hooks and Books, September 21
The Book Club Network, September 22
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 23
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 24
Becca Hope: Book Obsessed, September 25
For Him and My Family, September 26
Girls in white dresses, September 27
Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 28 (Author Interview)
Mary Hake, September 28
To celebrate her tour, Dianne is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.