Gretchen's Reviews > Amanda

Amanda by Candice Ransom
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Jul 18, 10

bookshelves: young-adult, romance, historical-fiction
Read from July 10 to 18, 2010

Okay, it's a little embarrassing that I read this book. But every once in awhile I feel like taking a break and reading something a little bit mindless.

I read the Sunfire series when I was probably 13-14 years old. They are a series of young-adult romances that are set in different time periods. Amanda is the first book in the series. It's about a spoiled girl from Boston who is forced to leave with her father due to his gambling debts. Her father wants to head out west to Oregon. Amanda is less than thrilled, because she wants to stay in Boston and marry her dreamy beau. But alas, she must leave. Along the way she learns a lot about herself and her own strength, and of course, since this is a Sunfire book, she finds true love.

The first time I read this book I was probably about 13, so I didn't really remember it very well. Amanda was a spoiled brat in the beginning who I just wanted to slap most of the time, but as the book went forward, you could see her starting to mature. I mean, she was still sassy, but not as much of a brat. She really came into her own and developed the strength she needed to get across the Oregon Trail.

I thought this book did a really good job of portraying the hardship of pioneer life. Several times while reading this book I thought, "Oh my gosh, that would have been so hard." I think pioneer life is something a lot of people don't really consider anymore, but honestly, can you imagine walking all the way across the country with a wagon and a team of oxen? I would not have made a good pioneer. Anyway, I thought the author did a good job of really portraying the difficulties and the endlessness of the journey.

I also thought it was interesting that the author chose to add a brief scene with a group of Mormon pioneers to the story. This caught my attention, being Mormon myself. She even touches briefly on some incidents of early Mormon history, which was interesting to me, and made me wonder why she chose to put that in. It's just not something I expect to run across in a book like this.

Some of the author's descriptions are a bit over the top. I feel like she spent too much time in the "showing, not telling" portion of her college writing class. She maybe could have toned that down a bit. Some of them just seemed cheesy.

Overall, an enjoyable, clean YA romance that helps teach about pioneer life in the United States.
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