A summer of firsts
Sixteen-year-old Eliza Miller has never made a phone call, never tried on a pair of jeans, never sat in a darkened theater waiting for a movie to start. She’s never even talked to someone her age who isn’t Amish, like her.
A summer of good-byes
When she leaves her close-knit family to spend the summer as a nanny in suburban Chicago, a part of her can’t wait to leave behind everything she knows. She can’t imagine the secrets she will uncover, the friends she will make, the surprises and temptations of a way of life so different from her own.
A summer of impossible choice
Every minute Eliza spends with her new friend Josh feels as good as listening to music for the first time, and she wonders whether there might be a place for her in his world. But as summer wanes, she misses the people she has left behind, and the plain life she once took for granted. Eliza will have to decide for herself where she belongs. Whichever choice she makes, she knows she will lose someone she loves.
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Amish Girl Take a Trial Run in the 21st Century
Eliza has lived her whole life sheltered from modern technology, and she has also lived a life free of modern problems like materialism, consumerism and deceit. Eliza and her family are Amish and she has never left the Amish community where they do not have telephones, movie theatres, or shopping malls. They do not listen to music, and the girls do not wear pants.
Once in their lives Amish adolescents are offered an opportunity to see what it is like to live among “the English” – as they call people living outside the Amish community. During this important year, called Rumspringa, Amish teens are allowed to explore the world outside and decide which life they prefer. Once they promise themselves to the Amish, they cannot leave without shame, so the decision is made very thoughtfully.
A World Away is the story of Eliza’s Rumspringa year. The magic of technology in all its forms is exciting, but there are things about her home she misses terribly. Which life will she choose?
If you enjoy reading about adolescents challenged to make difficult decisions, you might also like reading: The Year of Impossible Goodbyes, by Sook Nyul Chol, or Small Acts of Amazing Courage, by Gloria Whelan.