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Book Review

This contemporary Christian book is the second in the " London Confidential" series by Sandra Byrd and is published by Tyndale House Publishers.

Through Thick and Thin is written for kids ages 13 to 16. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Savvy (Savannah) Smith starts a new term at her British school and tries to adjust to the small town where her parents moved their American family six months earlier. Although Savvy secretly writes an advice column in the school newspaper, using it to influence readers with her biblical worldview, she dreams of having a byline and being recognized as part of the newspaper staff.

Savvy and Hazelle, a reporter on her school's newspaper staff, have a difficult relationship. They compete for the opportunity to write a fashion article, each trying to prove herself to the editor. Savvy thinks this opportunity may be her way to become a staff writer. While pursuing the fashion story, Savvy tries to remake herself to be like the popular girls at her school and win their approval. She also tries to change Hazelle so they will both make a good impression at the fashion show. Hazelle doesn't want to be changed, which causes even more friction in their relationship. As they are forced to work together, they gradually begin to appreciate each other as individuals.

Savvy disobeys her parents and travels to London alone to buy new clothes. Instead of finding pleasure in her disobedience, she learns that her actions have hurt her relationship with her family and the Lord. Although she is given the assignment to write the fashion story article, Savvy decides to not write it so she can keep a promise she made to her little sister. Hazelle writes the story. By the end, Savvy receives a secret valentine, gains a friend and feels that she will find her reward in the Lord for the choices she made.

Christian Beliefs

Savvy and her family attend church. Hazelle comments that she doesn't know any other Christians besides Savvy's family. Savvy tries to assess her own spiritual gifts as a result of a sermon. When making decisions, Savvy explains that she feels God's presence and voice in her heart.

While she doesn't quote specific verses from the Bible, Savvy tries to base her advice columns on Scripture. She observes that she often has to learn a lesson from the verse herself before she puts it into the column. Savvy draws her advice in this book from 1 Samuel 16 (outward appearance), Numbers 32 (sin), John 8 (truth and freedom), Galatians 6 (reaping a harvest from good deeds) and Matthew 6 (rewards).

A reference is made to Lazarus rising from the dead.

Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

Savvy's parents are busy, but they still try to connect with their daughters; however, Savvy feels as if they don't have time for her. She disobeys them, knowing she is telling a lie by omission. After Savvy's parents discover her disobedience, they listen and discuss it with her. Then they decide on a punishment.

In school, one of Savvy's classmates covers for her while she uses her cell phone, which is against school rules. Savvy has an authority figure in the editor of the newspaper; when he assigns her to work with a different writer than she desired, she complies peacefully. Her relationship with him is complicated in the beginning as she has a crush on him; he never finds out, and he is dating someone else by the end of the book.

Savvy's dad jokes about getting out his shotgun to protect his daughter after Savvy receives chocolates from an admirer.


Savvy talks about how Henry VIII's wives died.


Savvy thinks she saw a kiss between two other newspaper staff members.

Discussion Topics

If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:

  • Describe a time when you saw people put down or make fun of someone.
  • What is Savvy's response when she is faced with this situation?
  • Is refusing to laugh successful?
  • Does walking away from the conversation work?
  • Why should you stand up for those who are being put down?
  • How might you stand up for someone this week?

  • How does Hazelle feel when she realizes why Savvy is spending time with her?

  • Has anyone ever tried to change you?
  • How did that make you feel?

  • Describe the popular girls in this story.

  • Do popular people always make bad choices?
  • How does being popular make you feel?
  • Can you be popular with one group of friends and not another?
  • Does being popular make the girls in this story happy?
  • Where do true joy and contentment come from?

  • How concerned is Savvy about fashion?

  • Can a person be too concerned about how she looks and what she wears?
  • What does the Bible say about how we look on the outside? (Hint: Savvy bases one of her columns on a verse about this.)

  • Have you ever struggled with knowing who you are?

  • Have you ever wanted to be someone else, just for a short time? Explain.
  • Tell about a time when you have tried to change who you are in order to fit in (as Savvy did).
  • Where are Christians supposed to find their identity?
  • How do you do this?

  • Who does Savvy say is the most important thing in her life?

  • What is the second most important thing in Savvy's life?
  • Are God and your family the first and second most important things in your life?
  • Does Savvy always put God and family first in this story? Explain.
  • How do you put God and your family first and second in your life?

Additional Comments/Notes

Manipulation: In order to try to get her mom to take her to the city, Savvy points out a wrinkle on her mother's face and mentions BOTOX.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and world-views of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

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