About New Beginnings by Janet Olson
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 to Africa on work assignments. Enter Lev Rosen, Ida’s irresistible boss at the orphanage where she’s been appointed. Lev has his own connection with Ida, although she doesn’t know it yet. Engen hoped the time away would give him the courage to finally tell Ida his true feelings for her, but how can he do that now that she is getting closer to Lev?
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 first.
I was constantly torn between the two love interests: Lev and Engen. Before finally selecting my ‘ship in the last 25% of the book.
I loved the obvious tension in the relationships and the fact that this book is so different from others.
I recommend this book to anyone that loves young adult romance novels and is looking for a break from the usual storylines and settings. Just beware the cliffhanger at the end!