Lucy is Mennonite in Pincecraft, Florida. While she and her father have electricity, he is very strict and she cannot use the computer or have a cell phone. Her best friend, Alice is Old Order. Every summer Alice comes down on the bus from the north for the season. Alice’s culture is much more strict but she has something that Lucy does not, Rumspringa. This is the time when Amish teens can try out life outside the Amish way. This means drinking, wearing English style clothing and using electronics. Alice is going through her Rumspringa so her new behavior is shocking to Lucy. She gets Lucy to come to a party with her and her new boyfriend. There Lucy meets Faron, an Old Order boy who has been shunned. Their love story is an interesting one. During the party Alice disappears. Everyone Old Order and Mennonite blames Lucy. Lucy will won’t stop until she finds the truth about what happened to Alice. Snowbirds is a riveting read. It is a mystery, love story and a peek into several secretive cultures from Amish to LARPing. The story twists and keeps readers engaged until the end. Lucy is a strong female character who has dreams and isn’t afraid to seek out ways to make them come true.
Some ideas for discussing with teens:
Discuss when Lucy says Faron is “like a book I want to keep reading.”
Discuss what it must be like to have your dreams go against your family’s plans for you or the beliefs you were raised with.
What do you think is the significance of the doves inside the sand dollars?
Discuss Rumspringa. Why do you think you would do with Alice’s choice?
Discuss this passage as Lucy talks about her dad. “But he doesn’t understand why I need to study the ocean. When I told him about the hole in the Gulf, he shrugged. “Not my business,” he said. He’s wrong. It’s everybody’s business.”
Discuss the experience when Lucy sees how the community shuns Faron.
Discuss this passage, “The longer you hold a secret, the deeper it grows like the poison bleeding into the Gulf. I know exactly how it feels.”
Discuss when Crystal says, “When I’m LARPing, I can be myself. At school, everyone things I’m a freak. But at the Games, we’re all freaks.”