Slipping. Lydia Bontrager's youngest sister is frighteningly ill, and as a good Amish daughter, it falls to Lydia to care for her siblings and keep the household running, in addition to working as a teacher's assistant and helping part time at her grandmother's bakery. Succumbing to stress, Lydia gives in to one wild night and returns home drunk. The secret of that mistake leaves Lydia feeling even more restless and confused, especially when Joshua, the only boy she's ever loved, becomes increasingly distant. When a non-Amish boy moves in nearby, Lydia finds someone who understands her, but the community is convinced Lydia is becoming too reckless. With the pressures at home and her sister's worsening condition, a splintering relationship with Joshua, and her own growing questions over what is right, Lydia could lose everything that she's ever held close.
Lydia is the eldest of 4 children. As the oldest of 4 in my family as well, I could relate. A lot of times the eldest (especially when they are a girl) gets handed a lot of responsibility, and even more so in the Amish community. My heart was breaking for Lydia with all the stress she was under with her two part time jobs, her youngest sibling being very ill, and strict limitations being put on her that she wasn't quite sure how to handle. Lydia is a very strong female lead character and I think she is a great role model for teenage girls. Not only did she have her faith shook up a bit (which, come on, what teenager doesn't), she had to find the strength within herself to be selfless and faithful (which is hard to do, especially during those late teenage years).
I admire the family unit that Lydia has. Not only her parents and siblings, but her aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents, not to mention her entire Amish community around her. It's what I would love for my community to be. Just knowing that I would have that much support from those around me is encouraging. It was a bit hard for me to get past the obvious "issures" the Amish community had with the "Englishers", but I thought Ms. Clipston did a wonderful job of exploring that side of the community, and I was pleasantly surprised with how it ended.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book! A great book for religious teenagers. It's not too "in your face religious", but the religion is strong and I think a lot of young readers could relate to Lydia's struggles.