top of page

Acceptance, Not Tolerance

Imagine a world where being different is better than being ordinary.

Cristal and Andrew Underwood have created such a world in their teen mystery series Spider Gang Mysteries (available on Amazon). Calling on their own experiences being bullied as kids, they write to teach and inspire others to open their hearts and minds to the power of teamwork, acceptance, and love.


Cristal and Andrew Underwood became fast friends when they met in a creative writing group a few years back. Cristal was born and raised in Erie, PA, and Andrew was born and raised in Salem, Utah. They grew up writing, creating, and reading. Both are self-proclaimed dreamers, harnessing the power of their imagination as fuel for their creative process.

In their teen mystery series, Spider Gang Mysteries, they are speaking to those kids who are bullied or feel that they don’t fit in. Calling on their own experience with this issue, they have also watched their own children go through it, and are looking for a way to change it.

Secret of 8 is the first book in the series doing just that. The book introduces us to a group of six misfit kids who could not be more different, and have to come together using their unique abilities to solve a mystery. Watching the story unfold, the characters start to understand that they each have something to contribute to the mission, and progress happens when they rely on one another.

Its sequel, The Wandering, highlights a character with OCD. The third book in the series, Freaks to the Left, highlights a character with Down syndrome, and is due out later this year.

As writers, it is their goal to highlight the fact that we can all accept differences in others. No matter if it’s appearance, ability, or lifestyle, we can accept others as they are, and celebrate and use each individual’s skills and talents to reach a common goal.

The couple takes a unique approach to the writing process. Their books are written from two points of view. The female and male voice allows the reader to see from the character’s perspective. I also love that the series takes place in the roaring twenties and the 1980s, and the Underwoods have created an informative website for readers with more description and detail about each of those time periods.

Cristal and Andrew recently joined me over on The Power to Pivot Podcast, where we talk about the books, bullying, and growing up in today’s world. Listen on iTunes, Anchor, or Spotify.


Head on over to Amazon and pick up a copy of Secret of 8 and The Wandering today!

Secret of 8

Amazon: Secret of 8

Spider Gang Mysteries on Facebook:

Catch up with Andrew and Cristal on social media:

Remember: You are never stuck. You are never lost. You are never alone. At any given moment, you can use your power to pivot, make a new choice, and start again. That pivot can be as simple as choosing to reach out and find another way. You can do it! And you are worth it!

Now, it's your turn to share...

How can you pivot to a new mindset today? Where do you feel you need to change your outlook? How can we help?

Continue the conversation in the comments below, or reach out to us via email, or over on social media:

And stay connected over on The Power to Pivot Podcast, where we are continuing the conversation, and sharing stories of those who have pivoted in their own lives.


bottom of page