Sunday, February 7, 2010
Review: Katy's New World by Kim Vogel Sawyer
Katy Lambright Series book one.
This was a departure in my personal reading as a book targeted for young adults. I am a historical fiction lover at heart, but this quick read captured and held my attention for many reasons. The ever-popular Amish and Mennonite fiction has so far eluded my reading shelf, but I admit, I've been curious. This is about a young Mennonite girl, Kathleen Lambright, who has been given special permission from the deacons of her congregation to attend public high school beyond the ninth grade norm of her community. Right away, Sawyer depicts teen angst at its finest, as Katy leaves her familiarity and ventures into what no one else in her community has ever done with the leadership's blessing--enter the world.
Adding to the conflict of Katy's awkward adjustments to school bells and the snickering and tittering of those around her, her community doesn't understand her longing for learning. Her best friend's jealousy over her time away and of her new friendships leaves her between two worlds, and the criticism of her aunt and others who think she will repeat a family scandal grieves her heart. But through it all, Katy faces her changing landscape with courage, determination, and a lovably imperfect character that manages to triumph in the end, rather like an Anne of Green Gables in a bonnet. I found myself endeared to this realistic young heroine to the point that I would like to follow her on her next journey, which looks like an addition to her close-knit family may be brewing.
Engaging, warm and full of human insight, the writing matched the character. A wonderful read for young and old.