By: Karen Ann Hopkins
Published By: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: June 26, 2012
Page Count: 304
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary Romance
I have always been a big fan of forbidden romance since that first moment I read Romeo and Juliet as a kid. There is just something compelling about watching a couple struggle to be together in spite of impossible odds. Not all of these starcrossed lovers end up with happy endings, but I do enjoy rooting for that. Never have I read a forbidden romance like this one though - typical American teenage girl meets typical Amish teenage guy. It's love at first sight, but how will they ever stay together when their cultures clash? The romance and tension in this one make it a delicious read.
Rose is still reeling from the death of her mother when her father moves her and her brothers to an old house in the Ohio countryside. The move isn't a welcome one for Rose, Sam, and Justin - they would have preferred to be left in Cincinnati with their friends and city living - but they agree that a change of scenery might help ease the ache of missing their mother. From the first page, you can see what a tight knit family this is. Sure, they have some issues with one another from time to time. What family doesn't? Deep down though, it is obvious to see how much they each care for one another. Rose is trying her best to feel the void left behind when her mother passed and her brothers are doing their best to look out for her in return. Everything in Rose's world is knocked off kilter when she meets Noah.
Noah is an interesting spin for a YA leading man. He's handsome, kind, romantic, and protective - all those things we've come to crave in the main male character - but he adds the additional element of being Amish. He's everything Rose could have ever dreamed of for herself, but his way of life does cause her to have some apprehension. She knows it would never work out; they come from drastically different worlds. But with a few glances from Noah, she starts to believe that maybe, somehow they could find a way to get to know one another better. Noah also feels the attraction to Rose and he tries to bury his thoughts, knowing that his community would never understand or accept a relationship with an outsider, but her just can't seem to stop thinking of her.
As each teen realizes that the other is suffering from the same affliction of the heart, their worlds collide and a forbidden romance begins. I have to admit that I fell in love with Noah as I was reading this one. I honestly don't know how I would have handled everything. Rose's future is certainly a difficult one. I do not envy the choices she is forced to make and I did have some issues with them. I felt like all the pressure and blame landed squarely on Rose's shoulders which was totally unfair. Nobody ever stopped to truly consider what Rose wanted and what was best for her. They just kept pulling her in whatever direction they wanted her to head. There is one particular part in the end where I lost a lot of respect for Noah; I felt like he was taking the coward's way out. There are more books to come in this series and I sincerely hope that some of these issues will be resolved.
I was so enthralled in this story. I loved both Rose and Noah and that the story is told from both of their perspectives. Their relationship is different from a lot of the other YA romances out there. It showcases a different side to the forbidden love angle and explains some interesting tidbits about the Amish culture. The clash between the modern world and the Amish community was one of my favorite aspects of this book. I have always found it fascinating that such a group of people have managed to hold onto their old ways and values in this day and age. I often wonder how fulfilling life could be if I eliminated all the unnecessary distractions from my life. A simple existence could be such a nice way to spend a lifetime. I soon remembered that I would have to live without the blog and my Kindle so the daydreams abruptly cut off at that point.
This is a perfect summer read! If you're in the mood for some sweet, clean romance and some major culture clash - pick this one up in June. I really enjoyed Karen Ann Hopkins' writing and I'm looking forward to the next book.
One Last Gripe: I was so angry with Noah during his fight with Rose in the hayloft.
My Favorite Thing About This Book: Learning more about the Amish culture
First Sentence: Pressing my head to his heart, I listened hard, straining to hear any gurgle or murmur of life.
Favorite Character: Rose
Least Favorite Character: Ella
Your heart misleads you. That's what my friends and family say. But I love Noah. And he loves me. We met and fell in love in the sleepy farming community of Meadowview, while we rode our horses together through the grassy fields and in those moments in each other's arms. It should be ROSE & NOAH forever, easy. But it won't be. Because he's Amish. And I'm not.