A Simple Song is a good read for young adults and teens that can also be enjoyed by more "mature" adult Amish fiction fans. The characters and story line take a contemporary path (one that may be a little out of the norm for most Amish stories) that should appeal particularly to a younger audience. This could be a good story for introducing younger readers to the genre.
Available June 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Thanks to the publisher for providing this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.
Katrina never expected Mamm to be pleased about this. And she never dreamed both her parents would agree to such madness. Now that neither of them appeared determined to stop her, she felt slightly let down. It seemed their consent came with a high price. Still, she remembered Daed's ashen face earlier and her concerns for his health, and she thought perhaps the price was not too high after all.
Book: A Simple Song by Melody Carlson, Revell Publishers, 2013
Genre: Amish Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 13-19
Subjects: Family relationships, Secrets, Sacrifice, Life Direction
Summary: A good Amish girl, Katrina has never considered joining the outside world. Then, after the death of her grandmother, secrets come to light that change her views on music and expose her to the music of the outside world. Meanwhile, a good friend has been dabbling heavily into the media of the outside world for three years through the aid of a computer for the family business. She claims Katrina can sing just as good, if not better than those on American Star, a reality tv show for teenage singers. Katrina has no desire to pursue it, but then she learns that the surgery her Daed requires costs more money than she has a hope of making. So she enters the contest just to make enough money to help him. But can a young Amish girl who knows nothing of the outside world survive in such an environment?
Notes: A typical Amish story, it begins with the discovery that someone had a secret that meant they had experimented with the outside world. From there the story delves into whether it is right or wrong for Katrina to use her singing for anything besides simple worship of God. This question is never really resolved. She just does it because she feels she has to, she doesn't determine if it is truly right or wrong in the eyes of God. But Scripture is never brought up, just the rules of the particular Amish group she belongs to or another Amish group. Then as she enters the competition the question of her clothing comes up - is it right or wrong for her to try to fit in with the outside world while she is participating in it. Her aunt seems to think it's ok, she concludes it is just not comfortable for her to dress as anyone different than who she is. Then the story ends with a concern of whether or not her family will accept her back after what she's done and this too is left unanswered. It switches to romance at the end and ends with that scene, before she even makes it back home to see what her family's reaction will be. Overall, I would say this is not a Christian book, just Amish. Yes, they have similarities, but rather than the Bible being the ultimate source of authority, the Amish man-made rules are and even these aren't ultimate since they vary from one group to the next in this story. It certainly isn't a bad book and the character does pray a few times, it's just not a focus on Christianity.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 2/5
Entertainment/Quality Recommendation Scale: 4/5
1 Peter 2:12 - Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
"Available June 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group."
Thank you to Revell for giving me a free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
This book held my attention from the very beginning. It was such an interesting story and I admired Katrina for her devotion to her Dad to do what she felt she had/could do to help him, knowing that the consequences for her behavior could sever her from her family. I really enjoyed this book.