I read an excerpt of Chapter One, Book One online. A book for teens? Not any I know. Maybe a denim-jumper-wearing, I-haven't-cut-my-glory (hair) since I was 2, socially inept, immature, mama's-taught-me-to-fear-the-"world" kid whose reading level tapped out around age nine? Maybe. A Summer Secret might be an acceptable choice for a fourth grader. But not a teen. I will not be among those good Christian mommies who plan to force their tween and teen daughters to read these books (instead of those other books) so they can become good little bonnet-book reading Christian girls.
Jeff Gerke at Marcher Lord Press sarcastically refers to Amish Fiction (and I paraphrase--see his comments for yourself on his website) as the only fantasy fiction published regularly by mainstream CBA publishers. And I agree. Here's his quote (which I love) taken from an interview with author/artist Rachel Marks.
Glad I'm not the only the only one with a bonnet-induced gag reflex.
From the ages of 2-13 I lived in a community with a large population of old-order Amish residents. I have a hard time seeing the characters portrayed in this "fantasy-fiction" as at all comparative to the characters I saw in that community in my daily life. The Amish lifestyle is based upon tradition, legalism, and some downright crazy ideas about indoor plumbing, procreation, women's roles, facial hair and "The English." But they do make some mighty fine quilts.
The Amish lifestyle is not charming. It's not like Witness (starring Harrison Ford). Neither does it resemble For Richer or Poorer (starring Tim Allen and Kirstie Allie) as entertaining as those films are-- and I can guarantee that, other than a sense of place and an adherence to culturally acceptable wardrobe, the truth holds little resemblance to anything like what I've read in the one or two Amish "Christian" novels I choked through a few years back. The Amish life is a hard life filled with religiously sanctioned abuse--especially against women--and with little or no room for a theology of Grace.
And this is what we're selling to our girls. Go team.
Warning: please set your Sarcasmometers to stun before reading the following paragraph.
Forget secular market trends in teen fiction, because that ungodly tripe could not possibly be suitable reading for our sweet, impressionable young ladies of the church. Give them the stuff that's selling so well to their mammas and grandmammas (forget that it's all we're publishing right now) because then they can carry it (along with their Bibles, of course) in their quilted tote bags with them to youth group and not embarrass us in front of the adults of the congregation. Big sigh of relief. God will surely bless us for our prudent publishing practices.
Puh-leeze. That mirror is cracked.