I don’t read a lot of YA. Sure, I’ve read Twilight like millions of others, and for the most part I enjoyed it. Then I read Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely and realized how truly wonderful YA could be. The few things I read after that didn’t meet expectations, so I don’t read a lot of YA. That is until I was given the opportunity to review Laura Bickle’s The Hallowed Ones. A paranormal story set in the Amish world? I couldn’t resist. And I am so glad I picked this one up. It is truly a wonderful dystopian tale that transcended the YA genre and pulled me in with a heroine that I adored and a world that went from calm to frightening in a blink of the eye.The Hallowed Ones tells the story of Katie, a 17-year old Amish girl on the brink of adulthood, looking forward to her Rumspringa, the time when Amish youth go out into the wider world to experience it before deciding whether or not to permanently adopt the Amish faith and lifestyle. But a mysterious “Darkness” befalls the outside world, and Katie is forced to stay within the confines of her community and delay her much-anticipated plans for freedom and exploration. Through a series of events, the Outside starts creeping into Katie’s structured and safe Amish world. Not only is Katie forced to face frightening changes, but she must also deal with the changing relationships she has with her best friend and possible fiancé, Elijah, her parents, and her community. It is a story of conformity and rebellion, faith and doubt, love and death, youth and adulthood, all within a disturbing dystopian landscape.“…I sensed that my time was measured. I wanted to wring every last experience out of it like juice from an orange, to feel, to touch, and to taste the juice as it ran down my chin. I did not want to lie down and wait for death like Ginger and the others, with their veil of ignorance drawn around them and surrendering their will to live to others.I wanted my life to matter.And I wanted to choose how it mattered.”What drew me into this story was Katie. I loved her very real struggles, both within herself and with her loved ones. For the Amish, obedience is key. And while Katie is devout she can’t take the step towards blind obedience. She always questions and does what she feels is right, not what she is told is right. Katie battles with expectations, with being who she is versus what others think she should be. I also loved that while Katie struggled with some very adult issues, particularly when it came to her family and her faith, there was still something young about her. She collects Wonder Woman comics and drinks Coke, her first acts of rebellion. Bickle kept such a great balance with her that while you feel her maturity, her youth is never forgotten. To read more of this review go to She-Wolf Reads.