By the Creek by Geoff LaughtonPublished by Harmony Ink Press
Blurb: Soon-to-be high school junior David Harper hates his family’s move to the country. There’s nothing to do, and he misses his friends in the city. But he doesn’t have a choice. His mother’s job is in Mason County now, so David and his mom are too, and he has to make the best of it. At first, the only redeeming feature of David’s new home is the swimming hole across the field from his house. Then David meets Benjamin Killinger, and suddenly life stops being so dull. Benjamin is Amish, and cooling off in the swimming hole is one of the few liberties he and his brothers enjoy. A friendship with an English boy is not—but that doesn’t stop him and David from getting to know each other, as long as it's on the neutral ground by the creek. After David risks his life to save Benjamin’s father, the boys’ friendship is tolerated, then accepted. But before long, Benjamin’s feelings for David grow beyond the platonic. Benjamin's family and the rest of the community will never allow a love like that, and a secret this big can’t stay secret forever...
Review: I'm a fan of Amish books in general because I am fascinated by the culture. It seems to be such a simple lifestyle, and yet at the same time, complex in its own way. Stories that involve LGBT members of the Amish community intrigue me even more because it is not a subject that is spoken of often, and I do not recall seeing any nonfiction book about the issue. This novel takes a look at this issue. David is new to the area and lives in the beautiful country close enough to the Amish community to see them working in the fields. When he wanders and finds a swimming hole, he accidentally stumbles upon Benjamin. What follows is the tentative friendship and then relationship between the two boys.
I loved that the author took time for the two boys to not only become friends, but fall in love. Given the Amish reactions to anyone they consider English or an outsider, it was the best course of action. Their relationship was even more tentative, and I followed the slow course with just as much anticipation as they felt.
Whenever the two boys felt a bump in the road, I felt it. I'm an emotional reader, and I will admit, I did cry. The book is beautifully written and worth a look.
Review by Jennifer