Some time back I was listening to an NPR discussion about what’s “new” in adult fiction. The discussion centered on the growing popularity of Amish romance fiction, and considering current reality TV shows about the Amish community such as “Amish Mafia” on the Discovery Channel and “Breaking Amish” on TLC, I figured they must be on to something.
Fast forward a month or so to the Ohioana Book Festival, a yearly celebration featuring Ohio authors and a slew of awesome panels, and what caught my eye? Amish romance fiction … for teens.
There isn’t anything new about realistic teen fiction with religious themes, but the growing popularity of Amish romance fiction for teens piqued my curiosity. Are English (non-Amish) readers interested in learning more about the Amish community? Is the Amish-English romance a bit risque, akin to the doomed teen romance between a human and supernatural being? Or are teens (and their parents) simply interested in a “cleaner” read? However, looking over a few of these picks I realized that maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to assume…
Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle
Amish and vampires and the apocalypse. Need I say more?
Running Around (and Such) [series, book 1] by Linda Byler
Lizzie’s father decides to sell his shop and move to the country to begin farming. Unfortunately the last thing Lizzie wants to do is tend to the farm and feel isolated from their community. Lizzie would much rather dress fancy, hang out with friends, and find the boy of her dreams.
Reckless Heart by Amy Clipston
Feeling serious pressure after her younger sister becomes seriously ill, leaving her to take over the responsibilities of the household, Lydia makes a regretful mistake at a party that threatens her reputation and future.
A World Away by Nancy Grossman
When Eliza turns 16, she convinces her parents to allow her to leave her conservative Amish community to become a nanny in Chicago for the summer. For the first time, she is exposed to modern clothes, technologies, and even relationships that she hadn’t experienced before. Soon Eliza falls head over heels for Josh and is faced with the toughest decision in her life.
Temptation [series, book 1] by Karen Ann Hopkins
It can be tough enough when the guy you like doesn’t go to your school or has a family with different ideals that yours, but when Rose meets her new neighbor, Noah, she learns that there are some things harder than geography to overcome. Noah isn’t permitted to date Rose, or even hang out with her — he is committed to his Amish lifestyle although he definitely feels a connection with Rose. Will their love find a way?
— Dena Little, currently reading My Life in Pink and Green by Lisa Greenwald