Monday, August 02, 2010

Book Review: "Katy's Debate" by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Just as Katy is feeling settled in her new school, everything falls apart at home. Her father, believing she needs a mother, starts courting a woman Katy refuses to accept. Tensions rise as Katy schemes to send the woman packing. Meanwhile, the pressure builds at school as Katy joins the debate team, encounters a teammate's scorn, and faces her growing feelings for a boy her father will never accept. Can Katy prove she doesn't need a mother's guidance even as she discovers more of what the world offers?

I was looking forward to this book as I had enjoyed the first book in the series. This is due to the unique perspective of a teen who is normally not allowed to pursue higher education being allowed to do so. Katy is from a strict Mennonite family but she is allowed to attend a public high school which is giving her a whole new look at life. She's still following the strict background she's grown up in as she doesn't wear makeup or even watch TV when staying in a hotel room. However both her and her father are willing to adapt to the new way of life and allowing her to explore new experiences like joining the debate or forensics teams.

The main focus of the story deals with Katy having to deal with a potential new stepmother in her life. Here I felt the story falls into predictable territory. Katy doesn't want another woman in her father's life. While she doesn't do anything drastically horrible, she does her best to not make this union happen. Since she is from the Mennonite background, the things she does seem very tame compared to what an average teen might do. I just felt that this story line could have been handled a bit better but I still enjoyed seeing her go through this debate in her head about what to do.

While I enjoyed this book, I felt that it's more geared towards younger readers than the average YA audience. Even though Katy is a teenager, due to her religious upbringing and background, she's quite naive when it comes to normal things and therefore looks at things with young innocent eyes. The other qualm I had with the book is that I'm not a big fan of the cover. I don't feel that it has anything to do with the story and doesn't really give the reader a clue as to what the story is about other than the fact that it's clear that Katy is Mennonite and therefore not like the reader. As I felt with the first book, it will be interesting to see what will happen when Katy gets older and has to deal with harder classes and having to deal with more technology. Overall, this is a nice safe read. A bit innocent, but it is refreshing after most YA that is out there.

Katy's Debate by Kim Vogel Sawyer is published by Zondervan (2010)

This review copy was provided for a blog tour with FIRST Wild Card Tours

Read the first chapter below

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