Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A World Away

A World Away
by Nancy Grossman

A summer of firsts
Sixteen-year-old Eliza Miller has never made a phone call, never tried on a pair of jeans, never sat in a darkened theater waiting for a movie to start. She’s never even talked to someone her age who isn’t Amish, like her.

A summer of good-byes
When she leaves her close-knit family to spend the summer as a nanny in suburban Chicago, a part of her can’t wait to leave behind everything she knows. She can’t imagine the secrets she will uncover, the friends she will make, the surprises and temptations of a way of life so different from her own.

A summer of impossible choice
Every minute Eliza spends with her new friend Josh feels as good as listening to music for the first time, and she wonders whether there might be a place for her in his world. But as summer wanes, she misses the people she has left behind, and the plain life she once took for granted. Eliza will have to decide for herself where she belongs. Whichever choice she makes, she knows she will lose someone she loves. (description from

When I picked this book up, I wasn't sure how I was going to like it.  For some reason I associate all books about the Amish with school reading.  Why, I'm not exactly sure...since I never actually read any for school...but that's how they stack up in my head.  I was *SO* pleasantly surprised in A World Away.

I thought this was a really well done story. It totally pulled me in and I was so invested in Eliza's story that I found myself crying or laughing out loud in several different spots. This is a book that I think I will read again sometime down the road...and I'm already trying to pass it on to other readers!

This was a book that manages to teach about Amish culture without overwhelming the reader.  It has a strong main character that has to make a very tough decision, and it's handled in a very realistic way.  As Eliza experiences her Rumspringa, she ends up discovering things about herself, her place in society, her values, and her faith.  She never really loses herself, even as she experiences a whirlwind of "firsts." Even more than that, Eliza learns about family.  What it really means, who it can include, and how her particular family fits into the larger "English" and Amish societies.  

This book was able to cover so many fantastic topics in a serious way without ever verging into "preachy" territory.  SO well done.  I highly recommend checking this one out!

Full disclosure: ARC received to review for VOYA

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