Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review: Double Take

Double Take by Melody Carlson

Publication Date: June 2011
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Genre: Christian Fiction, YA
Pages: Paperback, 271pp
ISBN-13: 9780800719647
ISBN:
0800719646

(Received for a honest review from Revell Books)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Christianbook.com, IndieBound

Melody Carlson on the WEB: website, facebook

Excerpt from Double Take

Synopsis:

It's spring break of her senior year and Madison Van Buren is fed up. Stressed over Ivy League pressure, her parents' marital problems, and her boyfriend's neglect, Madison gets in her car and drives west. Meanwhile, eighteen-year-old Anna Bronner wants to escape the so-called simple life—which for her consists of caring for younger siblings, sewing, cooking, and gardening—and she's well aware that her future will simply be more of the same with a man she doesn't love. Suddenly, worlds collide when Madison and Anna meet in a small town, realize they look uncannily similar, and decide the grass is definitely greener on the other side.

Readers will love this funny and provocative tale of switching places from bestselling author Melody Carlson. As they get a glimpse into two very different worlds, they may find themselves happy to be just who they are, where they are.

Thoughts:

Acclaimed author Melody Carlson has written over 200 books for the young and adult readers. With her new book Double Take she takes on one of Christian publishing's most popular sub-genre's, Amish fiction. Carlson is above all else a wonderful storyteller and readers will enjoy this modern twist on Twain's, Prince and the Pauper. Wealthy city girl, meets simple Amish girl, who looks enough like her to be her twin. The premise may seem far-fetched but that's why they call it fiction!

By some standards Madison Van Buren has the perfect life. She has money and a high powered family. She can have anything she wants or so you would think. But Madison is being pressured on every side. Her parents want her to go to a particular school and their constant bickering is driving her crazy. Her boyfriend even chimes in on how things should be. Madison feels like she has to get away. Meanwhile Amish teen Anna Fisher is going through problems of her own. She cooks, she sews, she gardens and she watches the younger children. She's bored and wonders what life outside the Amish community holds. Her boyfriend, Jacob ran away to New York and she misses him. Both girls have issues with how their lives are, but is the grass greener on the otherside? When they meet and realize they have an uncanny resemblance to each other, switching places seems to be the answer.

Melody Carlson has thrilled fans over and over with her Christian fiction titles. She has a knack for getting inside the heads of teens who are experiencing changes in their lives and in their faith. With her latest book, she takes on the Amish fiction sub-genre. This kind of fiction has really taken Christian publishing by storm in the last few years and I was really interested to see how Carlson approached it. I have always been a big fan of Mark Twain and when I read the premise for Double Take I automatically thought about Twain's very popular story, The Prince and the Pauper. This is a modern YA twist on that old favorite. I thought Carlson came up with a story that young adult readers will really buy into. What teen doesn't want to escape their life sometimes? I think it's a rite of passage that Carlson takes to whole new level.

First and foremost Carlson is a great storyteller. In Double Take she gives the reader a glimpse into a modern Amish community. It is a much simpler life style and seems to stem back to a different time, yet this is how the Amish choose to live their lives. Most Amish stories readers are exposed to these days have the same theme. Amish girl or boy decides to leave the Amish community to see what the world holds. This book is similar in that Anna has the same intentions, but then you have to add in Madison, who has a totally different motivation. I liked the way that Carlson gave both girls a reason to want to see how the other half lived. I liked the way that each of them learned some life lessons from their experiences as well. One thing you can always count on with Carlson is good clean read that will appeal to both young and old readers and this one doesn't disappoint.

The premise doesn't seem very plausible. Two girls meet, who look just a like and they decide to switch places for a week. It may not seem realistic, but does it really have to? I don't think so. Reading is about escaping from your every day and this book certainly provided that escape, for me as a reader and for the characters in the story. I thought Carlson did a fantastic job of incorporating her message into the book, without being preachy or too over the top. Both girls learn a lot and they also teach the other people they come in contact with as well. I would recommend this one to Christian fiction fans and young adult readers. If you like Amish fiction this one is a little different than most and I think you'll enjoy the refreshing changes.

Available June 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of the Baker Publishing Group.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!




Melody Carlson has written around 200 books for teens, women and children. That's a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a "storyteller." Her books range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, TrueColors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She's won a number of awards (including the Rita and Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog.

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