Trading Secrets by Melody Carlson

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Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

About the book: (from back cover)

Back in fifth grade, Micah Knight got an Amish pen pal, and over the years, they’ve exchanged many letters–and many secrets. At age seventeen, Micah finally has the chance to meet her pen pal face-to-face. The only problem is that because of confusion about her name when the pen pals were assigned, her pen pal was a boy, Zack Miller. And all this time, Micah’s never told Zack that she’s actually a girl! While she wants nothing more than to experience life on Zack’s Amish farm, she’s afraid he’ll hate her for deceiving him all these years. But she makes up her mind to face the music–and that’s where the fun really begins.

Bestselling author Melody Carlson brings young adults another fascinating tale of worlds colliding, secrets being revealed, and friendships forming. Teens will love this story of miscommunication and mishaps along the way to the truth.

My Review:

This young adult book is one among several that Ms. Carlson has written about “English” and Amish. It is sort of the equivalent of Judy Baer’s Cedar River Daydreams, with Amish characters. I personally tend to avoid Amish fiction, as they are not my cup of tea, but the description of this one caught my eye and I thought I would give it a try.

The one thing I actually liked about this book was how rude Zack’s mother was to her throughout the book, capturing much of the way that many Amish would treat a young person that she felt was threatening her lifestyle, beliefs and even her son’s salvation. While the book is not terribly accurate on many levels and quite far fetched, it was fairly harmless. However, I felt that it contained some scenarios where it was very disrespectful of  the teens to their parents, putting them down because they were of different beliefs than them. For that reason, parents should likely should discuss afterwards with their teens about the long term consequences that decisions like that can have.

I think Melody Carlson should stick to adult fiction, which she does an excellent job at, and maybe leave the teen fiction and Amish fiction in general alone.

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