Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Published by
Disney Hyperion (July 2012)
Current material
Final Pages
Original language
Books for very young children, children’s picture books & activity books


by Grossman, Nancy

In this rich, moving novel, an Amish girl discovers the "fancy" world and must choose between two entirely different ways of life. But whatever choice Eliza makes, she knows she will lose someone she loves.

A summer of firsts
Sixteen-year-old Eliza Miller has never made a phone call, never tried on a pair of jeans, never sat in a darkened theater waiting for a movie to start. She’s never even talked to someone her age who isn’t Amish, like her. A summer of good-byes When she leaves her close-knit family to spend the summer as a nanny in suburban Chicago, a part of her can’t wait to leave behind everything she knows. She can’t imagine the secrets she will uncover, the friends she will make, the surprises and temptations of a way of life so different from her own. A summer of impossible choice Every minute Eliza spends with her new friend Josh feels as good as listening to music for the first time, and she wonders whether there might be a place for her in his world. But as summer wanes, she misses the people she has left behind, and the plain life she once took for granted. Eliza will have to decide for herself where she belongs. Whichever choice she makes, she knows she will lose someone she loves.

Nancy Grossman works for the Honors Program at DePaul University in Chicago, where she teaches courses in creative writing and young adult fiction. She lives in a Chicago suburb with her family.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Annelie Geissler

Available View on Rightsdesk



At age 16, Eliza feels trapped by the conservative traditions of her Amish community. During her “rumspringa,” a time when Amish teenagers are allowed to “step out of the plain world,” she has the opportunity to be a nanny for a family in the Chicago suburbs. Eliza is thrilled with her new contemporary wardrobe and the modern conveniences available to her, but she didn’t anticipate falling in love with a neighbor, Josh, who introduces her to the Rolling Stones and the telephone, or discovering secrets that will significantly change her view of her family. Although Eliza’s new life is easier in many ways, the moral dilemmas she encounters are more complicated than any she’s previously met. In this honest and meticulously detailed first novel, Grossman offers a rare glimpse into Amish culture, bringing to light core values and the difficulties Amish people, especially teens, face living apart from the rest of the world. Eliza emerges as an intelligent, vulnerable heroine who gains wisdom and maturity from the mistakes she makes and the friendships she builds.

Review: Publishers Weekly

Eliza Miller has grown up in a world removed from modern inventions and customs. More than anything, she longs to cast off her Amish kapp and experience the English world during her Rumspringa. Though her parents originally had no plans to allow Eliza any special freedoms, when a stranger invites Eliza to become her live-in nanny, her parents relent and send her off to Chicago for the summer. What follows is a whirlwind of new experiences—new clothes, contraptions, movies, and music. Josh, a cute neighbor, soon becomes more than a friend and Eliza is conflicted for she had been on the verge of courting with another at home. As each day passes, Eliza longs to stay in this new life, but when Eliza thinks of those she would have to leave behind, she realizes just how monumental a choice she must make. Is she still Amish at heart? With an easy-to-read style and an engaging main character, Grossman's novel creates an intriguing and appealing foray into the Amish world. Many details of Amish life are sprinkled naturally into the storyline, allowing readers to learn these facts outside of a school setting. Eliza's struggle for self-identity and acceptance make her a well-developed character, reflective of teens in all walks of life. Though too long for most reluctant readers, the self-exploration and romantic aspects of this book will appeal to many teens. Both school and public libraries will find this title an excellent addition to their collections.

Review: Voya

This sensitive debut grabs hearts right away and doesn't let go. Eliza, a 16-year-old Amish girl, struggles against the restrictions of her culture. She loves her family and friends but yearns to see the modern world. She gets her chance when a visiting woman offers her a summertime nanny job, but she must convince her reluctant mother to agree. Amish teens are allowed a "rumspringa," a time of some freedom before they decide to accept baptism and join the permanent community, but her mother's vision of this "running-wild" time is very different from Eliza's. At last Eliza's mother consents, and the girl moves with a modern wardrobe to Chicago, where she encounters the wonders of movies, computers and microwaves. Soon she meets Josh and begins dating, also entering the world of modern girl rivalries. Later, Eliza will meet someone from her past and learn more about her mother than she could have imagined. Throughout, Eliza faces a terrible choice: Which world will she join, and which will she leave forever? The author writes with simple sentences that fit Eliza's simple way of life and convey her innocence. Readers experience their own world through the girl's naive eyes, marveling at technology, experiencing new relationships, and worrying through her difficulties. Grossman's love for her story seeps into every page, locking readers into the narrative. She produces a heartfelt tale that will be difficult for readers to resist. Simply lovely.

Review: Kirkus

More like this