New Horizons

This first mystery book in the "Mandie: Her College Days" series by Lois Gladys Leppard is published by Bethany House Publishers, an imprint of Baker Publishing Group.

New Horizons is written for kids ages 10 to 15. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Plot Summary

Mandie and her friend Celia begin their first year at Charleston Ladies' College. Their excitement soon turns to frustration as they realize the other girls at school don't like them, although they have no idea why. To complicate matters, the boarding house they want to move into, to get away from other girls at the college, is said to be haunted. They decide to move into the house with another friend, and together the three of them work to solve the mystery of the supposed ghost and a local burglary.

Christian Beliefs

There are not a lot of blatant references to Christianity, although Mandie does go to church with her friends, and her college holds chapel every morning. Grace Wilson says she prays for Mandie's grandmother every day because of the kindness her grandmother showed Grace.

Authority Roles

All of the authority figures in Mandie's life provide positive role models for Mandie. Her grandmother can appear a bit controlling at times, but she has Mandie's best interest in mind. Mrs. Dunnigan, who becomes a temporary authority figure in Mandie's life, treats Mandie as a member of her family, expecting Mandie to respect her rules.

Other Belief Systems


Profanity/Graphic Violence






Discussion Topics

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

  • Why should or shouldn't Mandie have kept the news of her moving into a boarding house a secret from her grandmother?
  • How did Mandie and Celia react to the girls who continually ignored them?
    How could Mandie and Celia have better handled the situation?
  • What did you learn from how the girls at the college judged Mandie?
  • Was Mandie's method of treating those who said mean things about her and her grandmother reasonable or would you say that her grandmother's approach was more appropriate? Explain.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews 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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