For a Lancaster County native like me, Amish Guys Don’t Call was a nostalgic look at my home town with lots of local references to restaurants, clubs and other locations. The author attended Lancaster Country Day School and clearly loves her native soil as well.
Her story of an “English”* girl who falls for a former Amish boy is tender and kind with a solid dose of mean girls mixed in. Samantha has arrived in Lancaster County after being caught shoplifting in Philadelphia, a compulsion she continues to fight throughout the book. Her mother seems to care little for her daughter and spends most of her time in the city, and her father is out of the picture. Swept up into the cool girls’ group, Samantha struggles to find her place as she starts dating an unusual young man and make sense of her “friends.”
My biggest criticism of the book was that it never occurred to Samantha that her boyfriend was Amish. Dodds addresses this in the notes at the end, recognizing that most readers would have guessed (after all, as she points out, the title is a dead give away). She suggests that Samantha had not lived in Lancaster County long enough to make the connection and that the cultures are divided in ways that would make cross connections uncommon.
This book would be an excellent read for young adults, helping them understand a different culture and better navigate their own.
*Amish refer to non-Amish as English.