Sunday, May 27, 2012
Zondervan Press, 17 April 2012
Lydia has a very busy life-- she is an assistant teacher at the local Amish primary school, and also helps out at her grandmother's bakery. Her four-year-old sister has been very ill, and after consulting doctors, the family has a diagnosis-- leukemia. In order for Ruth to receive treatment, she will have to stay at a hospital, and the mother will stay with her. Lydia now has to add household chores to her schedule. It's little wonder that when she was at a youth group meeting and the attractive Mahlon plies her with beer, that she drank it to try to escape the reality of her life. She starts to feel that this was not a good idea, since Josh, the boy she likes, seems to think less of her because of that incident and also because she has made friends with Tristan, a neighbor boy who is not Amish. Lydia's strict parents are also unhappy with her and group her from all activities. Will Ruth get better? Are Tristan and Lydia just friends? Will Lydia become a full time teacher, or decide to work in the family bakery.
Strengths: Michael of Middle Grade Mafioso had a great post at Project Mayhem about What Are Middle Grades Taboos, and "religiously observant characters" came out on the taboo side. Zondervan is, of course, a religious press, and they turn out a fair amount of books with characters who do have some religious bent. This, of course, had more than others. This made me think a little about Virginia Sorenson's Plain Girl, which is still available.
Weaknesses: The interpolation of Pennsylvania Dutch words seemed a bit forced, and I don't know about the audience for this one.