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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hattie Ever After

Have you ever read a book that just really stuck with you?  Of course I have, but it's not so often the YA book that do that for me.  Kirby Larson's Newbery Honor book, Hattie Big Sky was one of those books for me.  Hattie just wormed her way into my soul from her Montana homestead and took up residence.  I rooted for her and loved her and cried with her when things got difficult.  I didn't expect, however, to ever see her again once I'd finished Hattie Big Sky.  So perhaps you can imagine my excitement when I heard at the ALA conference that Hattie was back, and then they even gave me an advanced reader's copy.  Can I just tell you that I left it sitting on my shelf for more than a month because I didn't want to read it?

And here's why I didn't want to read it.   On the one hand, I was afraid it wouldn't hold up to the original.  Writing a sequel is a tough thing to do, at least in my estimation.  Well, actually, I should say, writing a good sequel.   I was a little worried I wouldn't love Hattie as much in book two.  That Hattie might have changed in ways I wasn't prepared for.  On the other hand, I knew it was going to be so good that I didn't want it to be over too soon.  I wanted to have that experience still waiting for me.  It's kind of a weird thing I have with authors I love.  I know once I start reading that in just a few hours the experience will be finished, and then I'll be waiting again.  I don't want it to go too quickly, so I give myself time to just look at the cover and imagine what might be.

What might be in Hattie Ever After is pure brilliance.  I think I might have actually liked it more than I liked Hattie Big Sky.  The writing in both books is beautiful. But I think that Hattie as a little bit older character has even more appeal for me than she did as a younger woman.  She wasn't a little girl in the first book, but she's more mature in this one, even though she's still quite young by today's standards.  She's looking to discover herself (even at the cost, perhaps, of the relationship with her boyfriend). She's looking to start a career as a reporter, one that's really interesting, and one that requires courage and determination for a young woman at the time.  Seems like a perfect set-up for a girl like Hattie, don't you think?

Kirby Larson does an amazing job of creating a character I can see so very clearly in a town (San Francisco) I can see so very clearly, too. It's as exciting for the reader to live vicariously in San Francisco as it was for Hattie, I think. So many exciting things are happening at that time, and Hattie gets a chance to experience them. In turn, I did, too.

Books like Hattie Big Sky and Hattie Ever After are the reason I love historical fiction and I highly recommend them. Anyone else out there vote for a third book in the series???

1 comment:

marlenedetierro said...

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.

marlene of Westport Fishing