Amish, fantasy books for teens

A young woman connects with her sick mother’s Amish family in “My Amish Boyfriend” by bestselling author Melody Carlson.

Shannon McNamara’s mother has been sick for a long time and the doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong. A neighbor has been helping Shannon care for her, but the neighbor is going out of town for the summer and thinks Shannon needs to take her mother back to visit her family. Shannon does, though it is disrupting her own summer plans, and gets the surprise of her life – her mother’s parents and siblings are Amish! Shannon’s mother had left many years ago and is now “shunned” but her parents agree to take care of her. Shannon finds life on her grandparents’ and uncle’s land to be hard, doing a lot of chores with a more “green” life than she ever expected. But she is intrigued by their lifestyle and wonders what her life would have been like if she had been raised like her mother. Further complicating this is the handsome neighbor, Ezra, who makes Shannon wonder if she could ever be Amish. Would she really give up her way of life for another because of him?

For any young teen interested in Amish stories, this is a good “summer romance” book that they will enjoy. Adult fans of the genre will love it too – I was charmed by the story and read it all in one evening.

“My Amish Boyfriend” is published by Revell. It is $9.99 and 265 pages.

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A teen with magical powers charged with protecting the rest of the population finds she may be a dimensional warrior in Abigail Gibbs’ “Autumn Rose.”

Autumn Rose is a half Sage – her mother is a human and her father and grandmother are Sagean royalty. Autumn is charged with using her magic to protect the humans who fear her for her scar-markings that label her a Sage. Other magical beings called Extermino can travel across dimensions and wreak all kinds of havoc, and Autumn must do what she can, even though she is an outcast at school. That changes when the prince of the Sages and celebrity Fallon comes to town. The school immediately embraces him and he almost immediately outs Autumn as being royalty – something she had kept hidden. Meanwhile, Autumn is also having a dream about a girl across the dimensions being seduced by a vampire – are they just dreams or is Autumn actually connecting with someone from the other dimensions? And what of the prophecy of the Heroines? Could it be that she is part of it?

This is a great paranormal fantasy novel for teens, of magic and danger, interwoven with high school life and concerns. It’s a good pageturner.

“Autumn Rose” is published by HarperCollins. It is $13.99 and 385 pages long.

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Lorie Ann Grover writes a fantasy story of gendercide in “Firstborn.”

Tiadone lives in a world in which her people have been enslaved by the Madronian Empire. In order to keep the R’tan population down, they put to death the firstborn daughter of every family, unless they are declared male and raised as a boy, suppressing all feminine traits and never to have a family. Tiadone is the only girl so far living as such, and the population of her small tribe wonder if she will be able to pass the male initiation, where R’tan males must serve the Madronians as guards, and whether or not the hawk animals her people bond with will actually do so or reject her for her femininity. As she has grown older and certain aspects of femininity cannot be denied, Tiadone also begins to question why her father stayed in his land, why she must suppress what she is and just what is wrong with being a woman. Together with her avian friend Mirko, Tiadone must make a decision about her own future which may impact everyone.

This is a haunting story of personal strength, gender roles and stereotypes and spirituality. This story has more than a little meat to it and will leave you thinking long after it is over.

“Firstborn” is published by Blink. It is $16.99 and 292 pages long.

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A former Fate finds herself exiled to the human world in “Fates” by Lanie Bross. Corinthe made one mistake and found herself banished from Pyralis Terra and forced to live among the humans. Acting now as an Exector, carrying out the plans of Fate, she may still be able to win her way back to her home. Her Guardian Miranda is helping her try to earn her way back with the Unseen Ones, and she’s only one job away. That job involves Lucas Keller, a handsome young boy who Corinthe has already met. But she can’t help feeling drawn to the very boy she is supposed to destroy. Will Corinthe make it back home or will she still want to? Is Miranda helping her or running her own agenda? And what does Lucas want? Myth and magic weaves its way into this teen drama that will lure in readers.

“Fates” is published by Delacorte Press. It is $17.99.

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C.S. Friedman joins the young adult world with “Dreamwalker.”

Jessica has been dreaming of other worlds for as long as she can remember, and has been painting those dreams. When her younger brother claims a strange woman has been hiding outside their house and a strange woman turns up at school wanting to buy Jessica’s work, she knows something is wrong. Even stranger is when Jessica gets some devastating news about her heritage – she is not genetically related to either of her parents, though her mother swears she didn’t adopt her and there was no mix up at the hospital. Joining a website for others who have found out similar stories, Jessica learns that these “changling” children are being picked off one by one – and then her home is set on fire and her little brother is taken in the chaos.

Jessica and her new friends are determined to find them and find instead a portal to another world, one that is linked to their true history. Traveling into the alternate reality to save her brother, will Jessica ever get back? This is a cool fantasy/alt-reality story that will appeal to all ages of readers, not just young adult. It’s a tense, well-paced story that will enthrall readers.

“Dreamwalker” is published by DAW. It is $19.95 and 312 pages long.

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Contact Amy Phelps at aphelps@newsandsentinel.com