I am always on the look out for good books for my oldest daughter. She is an avid reader, and it’s a challenge to keep up with her book appetite! I’m also thrilled when I can find a series that is exciting to her, and just as pleasing to me because the content is in line with our values.
I’ve been very pleased with the Katy Lambright books we were given to review. This series, written by Kim Vogel Sawyer, and published by Zondervan, tells the story of Mennonite teen Katy Lambright. Katy is a girl stuck between her traditional, strict Mennonite upbringing and religion, and that of the secular world around her while she attends public high school.
The series highlights the tough decisions Katy must make as she has to navigate both her religion and the world around her. This struggle isn’t one that just Mennonites face either – many of us have to struggle with what our religious beliefs tell us we should do, versus what the outside world tells us is acceptable. All kids can identify with Katy’s struggles on some level, and that’s what makes these books so great. The bonus for me, as a parent, is that Katy chooses to stay true to her faith throughout the books, despite the negative feedback and pressure she sometimes gets from friends, and the temptations of the secular world.
Here’s a little about both of the books we reviewed:
This, the third book in the series, focuses on Katy’s dilemma about whether or not to go behind her father’s back and attend the Homecoming Dance after being elected to the Homecoming Court. She very much wants to be “just one of the kids,” but her religion prohibits showy clothes and dancing. Katy also has to deal with the fact that a boy she has a crush on asks her to the dance, adding to her difficult decision. As the back cover states, “Katy must decide: Will she hold tight to her convictions, or will she sacrifice her principles for one special night?”
The author does a nice job of bringing real teen feelings into the mix. For example, Katy shares how she has butterflies in her stomach when Bryce, the boy she likes, talks to her; and she tells of her desire to just fit in and be popular. Katy also shares with the reader her desire to be faithful and follow her Mennonite rules as well. These are dilemmas teen/tween readers can identify with on varying levels.
Katy’s Decision is the fourth and final book in the series. In this book, Katy is faced with some tough decisions that will impact her for many years to come. Her best friend from school comes to stay with Katy and her family for the summer. They have plans to have a fun-filled summer together, that is, until Katy’s aunt becomes ill, and the girls must spend the summer working long hours at the family fabric store. It becomes clear that Katy’s aunt will be ill for a while, and Katy wonders whether or not she should go back to school in fall, or help her family and mind the fabric store.
On the romantic side of things, Katy’s crush on her high school friend, Bryce, is challenged by a visiting Mennonite boy who Katy also has her eye on. Her feelings are further complicated by Caleb, a Mennonite boy in her community who is interested in her. Katy’s head is filled with questions about each of these boys, and whether or not she has a future with any of them. Once again, Katy is stuck between two worlds, and is forced to sort things out and make the best decisions possible.
Katy Lambright Series – Books with Values and Discussion Questions to Boot!
Another thing I really like about this series is that each book has discussion questions at the end of the book. These are questions that would be great for a book club, or just between parent and child. The questions are ones that ask the reader how they would have reacted if they were in Katy’s shoes, and how they would have dealt with some of the tough decisions Katy had to make. It gives kids a chance to digest what they have read, and apply it to their own lives.
Buy Katy’s Homecoming and Katy’s Decision
You can buy these great books directly from Zonderhaven, or on Amazon.com, with a suggested retail price of $9.99 each.
Win Katy’s Homecoming and Katy’s Decision (Cl0sed)
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This was not a paid post. My own opinions were used based on my perceptions and experience. Thank you to Zonderhaven who provided the books for review and giveaway.