Kathleen Fuller, author
Tommy Nelson Publishers, Fiction 2010
Suitable for: Ages 12 and up
Themes: Amish Lifestyle, Sibling Rivalry, Mystery, Adventure, Friendship
Opening/Synopsis: Mary Beth Mullet is a 13-year-old Amish girl living with her parents and three mischievous and noisy brothers. She seeks a quiet place of her own where she can day-dream, write and sketch in her journal. Many readers will identify with her situation. She finds refuge in an old abandoned barn her parents have forbidden her to visit. One day she finds a button that she knows must belong to a Yankee (non-Amish) person. It is unsettling for her because she realizes her secret place has been violated. Her twin brother, Johnny, discovers her secret place when he follows Mary Beth one day to the barn. There a mystery begins to unfold when the twins discover a young runaway boy hiding in the barn. Who is he? Why is he hiding? They have some decisions to make that may involve an element of risk and danger. What will they do?
Why I like this book: Kathleen Fuller has written a richly detailed and beautiful coming of age book. Although it is designated for young adults, I believe middle graders would enjoy this clean read, as well as adults. And, I would also recommend the book for boys because it is full of adventure, mystery and has many twists and turns. The plot is strong and the characters are well- developed. Fuller has thoroughly researched and accurately portrayed the humble Amish lifestyle. Growing up in Ohio, she writes about Middlefield, the fourth largest Amish community in the world. She weaves their history into the book, using some of the Old Order language. There is a glossary in the book. I loved the book and couldn’t put it down. I’m also from Ohio, and am drawn to stories about the Amish communities. I look forward to reading the remaining two books in the series: The Secrets Beneath and Hide and Secret. Check out Kathleen Fuller’s website.