Linda Byler, a new author, to me offers a new and refreshing Amish story with her novel "Running Around (and Such)," the first in the Lizzie Searches for Love series. Byler grew up Amish and still is active with the Amish church. This is evident as the characters are very realistic and believable throughout the novel as everything is not sugar-coated, there is the negative and bad mixed in with the good. What jumped out to me is that Lizzie is a "typical teenager" as teenage girls may be stereotyped as and she is not portrayed as Amish girls of this age usually are in novels.
Lizzie feels as if she does not belong in her family or her Amish community at times. Lizzie feels inferior to her slim, pretty, and competent sisters, Mandy and Emma. Lizzie is overweight, loves to eat and loves fancy thing, especially high heels. Fifteen is a tough age for Lizzie as formal education is ending for her and she is expected to help around the house more and also work outside of the home. Staying in another family's home and helping out just does not appeal to Lizzie, yet this is expected of her. To add to the feelings of not fitting in, Lizzie's family moves to another county, in order to allow her father to follow his dream of farming much to her mother's dismay. This move is worse still as Lizzie and Emma are at the age of beginning to run around and there are not other young people their age in their county. In order to meet prospective husbands, Emma and Lizzie have to travel to another county on the weekends to spend time with other young people. Lizzie's life is never dull as she helps with the milking at home, works for a short amount of time with eggs and learns to make her own clothing.
Byler's novel is great for adults and also teenagers as Lizzie deals with emotions and also situations that "English" teenagers cope with as well. Byler's style of writing is easy to read. Lizzie has flashbacks throughout the novel and this allows the reader to know Lizzie better and understand her perspective.
*FSB Associates provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.*