Book Review: “A World Away”

“A World Away” by Nancy Grossman

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

Source: ARC from my former workplace

Summary from Goodreads:

A summer of firsts

Sixteen-year-old Eliza Miller has never made a phone call, never tried on a pair of jeans, never sat in a darkened theater waiting for a movie to start. She’s never even talked to someone her age who isn’t Amish, like her.

A summer of good-byes

When she leaves her close-knit family to spend the summer as a nanny in suburban Chicago, a part of her can’t wait to leave behind everything she knows. She can’t imagine the secrets she will uncover, the friends she will make, the surprises and temptations of a way of life so different from her own.

A summer of impossible choice

Every minute Eliza spends with her new friend Josh feels as good as listening to music for the first time, and she wonders whether there might be a place for her in his world. But as summer wanes, she misses the people she has left behind, and the plain life she once took for granted. Eliza will have to decide for herself where she belongs. Whichever choice she makes, she knows she will lose someone she loves

This book is scheduled to be released July 17, 2012.


For some reason I really enjoy fiction about the Amish people. I was so excited to read this book because it’s about a young Amish girl! I don’t think I’ve read YA Amish fiction before. A World Away was just perfect. The book starts with Eliza at home and going stir-crazy. Grossman does a great job of painting the Amish lifestyle  but soon enough I felt Eliza’s anguish of being cooped up. I wanted out as well.

I loved the way Grossman was able to describe our way of life. I’d imagine it would be incredibly hard to look at our life and describe it as an outsider. I loved the way she could describe the media that Eliza experiences and without being too specific. I knew exactly what she was talking about.

The characters were fantastic. I really grew to love most of them. They felt like my friends. I felt Eliza’s excitement about trying this new life. I was excited for her to experience everything. Josh was sweet without being too creepy (like how guys in romance books can be). Josh’s friends all seemed like 100% real kids. I knew those kids in school. I laughed with them, I cried with them, I felt devastated with them.

The actual story was good. To a certain extent the plot was a bit predictable. Oh we have an Amish girl living in the English world? You know there’s going to be an English boy who falls for her, she’s going to be confused with mall, there will be teen drinking, blah, blah, blah. Despite all that, I was completely in love with the story. The author even threw in twists that I never saw coming. I felt just as hurt and confused as I would have if I had been living it. Now that’s good writing. The ending was lovely. I was really hoping things would end like that. I was a bit worried that the author might mess things up.

The bottom line? I loved it. Highly recommended for YA contemporary fans.

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