Katy's New World is YA Mennonite fiction (as opposed to Amish romance). The Mennonites are religious cousins to the Amish, and like the Amish, the Old Order Mennonites eschew many modern conveniences, have strong community ties and dress in a manner most modern Americans would consider odd. Katy has finished ninth grade at her Mennonite school in rural Kansas, but she wants to go to the pubic high school. No other child from their community ever has, but the elders allow Katy to go, warning her not to be conformed to the ways of the world.
Of course her modest dress and prayer cap make her stand out and earn the titters of some kids. A Baptist minister's daughter befriends her and draws her into her circle of friends. Katy is torn between her new life and new friends and her forever best friend and life in her Mennonite community. Can she fit in both places?
Belonging is an important thing for most teens. Katy realizes she is different than the kids she grew up with, but she isn't rejecting the Mennonite lifestyle. I know this is a 200 page YA novel, and that fact limits the amount of character development but I thought the characters in this book were on the shallow side. Katy had some depth to her; we see it reflected in the poetry she writes and we see her struggle to bridge her two worlds. However her friend the minister's daughter is pretty much too good to be true, and the problem child in the circle of friends isn't really. This is the first book in a series so maybe the characters will be more fully developed as the series goes on. It was a pleasant quick read, though honestly I doubt my teen daughter would care for it. She doesn't plow through books like her mom does, but actually prefers more substance when she does read.
First Wildcard will tour this book next week. Stay tuned to read the first chapter.