Growing up is hard to do. Virginia Simpson, granddaughter of Love Comes Softly's Marty and Clark Davis, finds this out first hand. At the tender age of thirteen, Virginia makes friends with daring and popular Jenny, a girl at her school. Feeling proud to be in the "in" group, Virginia begins to go on some of the group's fun after-school outings. But things start to lose their fun once she gets in trouble with her family. She knows she is disobeying her parents by going out with Jenny and skipping her chores, but she doesn't want to lose her friendship with Jenny. Virginia thinks her family is unfair and strict . . . why shouldn't she be allowed to have fun and grow up without so much supervision?
One day Jenny and her friends go too far. They "borrow" a raft from a neighbor and steal candy from the store, then plan to go rafting on the flooded creek. Virginia realizes that she does not really belong with her group of friends. How could they stoop to stealing?
She leaves the group angrily, knowing it would likely be the end of her friendship, but too angry to care at the moment.
Then, Virginia hears some dreadful news that puts her in turmoil. . . .
As time goes on, Jenny and Virginia become friends again, of sorts. Jenny comes over to the Simpson's house more and more frequently and is fondled by her family. Virginia feels left out and jealous. When it is too hard to bear, she goes by herself and sobs. But she realizes she is wrong. Wrong to feel jealous. Her sister finds her and gently reproves her. Virginia's awful burden of sin is too hard to bear anymore, and she prays to God, feeling a peace she's never known before.
From her sister's marriage, to the trial of a neighbor accused of theft, Virginia's story, The Tender Years, is a book that will touch you and keep you turning pages. It is a book about forgiveness, love, friendship, and happiness that is found only in God.
It is a very good book for teens (or for anyone)!