Thursday, February 7, 2013

ARC Review: Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson

Hattie Ever After
Author: Kirby Larson
Publication: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (February 12, 2013)

Description: After leaving Uncle Chester's homestead claim, orphan Hattie Brooks throws a lasso around a new dream, even bigger than the Montana sky. She wants to be a reporter, knowing full well that a few pieces published in the Arlington News will not suffice. Real reporters must go to Grand Places, and do Grand Things, like Hattie's hero Nellie Bly. Another girl might be stymied by this, but Hattie has faced down a hungry wolf and stood up to a mob of angry men. Nothing can squash her desire to write for a big city newspaper. A letter and love token from Uncle Chester's old flame in San Francisco fuels that desire and Hattie jumps at the opportunity to get there by working as a seamstress for a traveling acting troupe. This could be her chance to solve the mystery of her "scoundrel" uncle and, in the process, help her learn more about herself. But Hattie must first tell Charlie that she will not join him in Seattle. Even though her heart approves of Charlie's plan for their marriage, her mind fears that saying yes to him would be saying no to herself. Hattie holds her own in the big city, literally pitching her way to a byline, and a career that could be even bigger than Nellie Bly's. But can making headlines compensate for the pain of betrayal and lost love? Hattie must dig deep to find her own true place in the world. Kirby Larson once again creates a lovingly written novel about the remarkable and resilient young orphan, Hattie Inez Brooks. 

My Thoughts: HATTIE EVER AFTER is another amazing work of historical fiction by Kirby Larson. It is the direct sequel to her 2007 Newbery Honor winning HATTIE BIG SKY and is told in the same authentic voice of now seventeen-year-old Hattie Inez Brooks.

When we last saw Hattie she had just failed at proving up her Uncle Chester's Montana land claim. When we meet her again, she is working as a housemaid in a boarding house in Great Falls, Montana, and has just finished paying up her uncle's debt. Hungry for new adventure and eager to find a place for herself, she decides to accept a job with a travelling Vaudeville troupe which will get her to San Francisco where she can attempt to solve the mystery of her Uncle Chester's life. 

The wonderful descriptions of San Francisco seen through Hattie's eyes are a high point of this story for me. Kirby Larson describes herself as a compulsive researcher which certainly informs Hattie's voice and makes the time come alive.

Hattie has some tough choices to make in this story. She has to choose between a life with Charlie as a wife and a life as an intrepid female reporter. While she hates disappointing Charlie since she really does love him very much, she feels that she has to find out who she is for herself before she can commit to someone else.

Hattie has some amazing adventures in this story including flying with pilot Eddie Hubbard in an early seaplane where Hubbard performs a loop the loop, spiral roll, and even a falling leaf making Hattie fear for her life. Hattie also finds herself stuck in an elevator with President Woodrow Wilson and spends an hour talking to him about his travels to convince the people of the United States to support the new League of Nations.

Hattie also suffers some betrayals—big and small— during her time in San Francisco from a fellow reporter befriending her and then stealing her stories to a con woman gaining her confidence and bilking her out of her hard-earned money. But Hattie learns and grows and finds out what she really wants out of life.

Hattie is a wonderful character. She is smart, ambitious, and wonderfully resilient. She would make a wonderful role model for any of today's young women and is a wonderful representative of the many women who made up America's past and paved the way for the future. I recommend this book to all young readers (and adult readers too!)

Favorite Quote:
The whole business between men and women made me feel as cantankerous as my old cow, Violet. Had I four hooves, I'd be stamping them; a tail, and I would be twitching it bake and forth in a frenzy. If only Perilee weren't so far away. She'd helped me learn to quilt and bake; surely she could help me with lessons of the heart.
I received this eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. I've never read Hattie Big Sky (I know, I should) but just wondering if you can read this one without reading the first?


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