This was a good read for me. There were many things I loved about this book and a few things that I think could have been better. First, let me tell you what it was about (without giving anything away). David and his mother moved to rural Michigan, where David is basically stuck out in the country with no car or friends until school starts. Because the story starts at the beginning of his summer break, that left a lot of free time. So after a few days, he goes and explores his new home and finds a creek. While at the creek, he runs into Benjamin, an Amish kid that lives in a community nearby. At first, Benjamin was not supposed to talk to David, (though he did anyway), until something happened to change that. Later they discovered they liked each other as more than friends and had to work to hide that.
I loved learning about the Amish Community, and what it meant to be Amish. I always love books that teach me new things as I read. I even did more research after I had finished the book because I was intrigued by the Amish way of life.
I also like that this book has a younger feel to it with older characters. There was some violence, but it was off page so you know it happened yet didn’t have to read it. That made this book a great book for younger teens who are looking to read books with older characters and without reading violence. I think the author did that very well in this book. I don’t know if his intent was to aim it at younger teens, but this would be great for them; and it’s a good read for older kids as well. So he expanded his audience by doing this.
I like that there was a build up to the boys’ relationship. They were first wary of each other, then hidden friends, then not so hidden friends, until they became lovers. This gave it a more realistic feel for me being that one of the characters was from a strict religious background and community.
Now, what I would have liked to be different in the book. Because this book spans a few years, daily life goes by fast. In real life, people, especially teens, change a lot in just a few years’ time. That didn’t happen here. There was some change in Benjamin, but David was the same kid through the whole book. We also lost a lot of action and were “told” how his life went. I like to read books that flow more like movies, where I “watch” (or am shown) the action instead of being told what happens. I do realize that that would be hard with this type of book because it would make it crazy long, but maybe a little more action would have worked.
I feel the ending has left a spot for more to come and I hope there is more because we need more closure for these boys. I give this book 3 marbles. It’s a good read and I would recommend it to young teens.
By the Creek is available at
About By the Creek
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...