Monday, March 4, 2013

Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson [Review]

Hattie Ever After (Hattie, #2)4 out of 5 Robots!

Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson
Series: Hattie #2
Genre: Middle Grade Historical Fiction
Release: February 12, 2013
Hardcover: 240 Pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press for Young Readers
My Copy: Publisher - Netgalley
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
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. (Courtesy of the Publisher)
Shannon's Thoughts:
Hattie Ever After is a long anticipated sequel to Hattie Big Sky (Newbery Honor 2007).  Hattie Ever After picks up a few months after the conclusion of Hattie Big Sky.  Hattie lost her claim in Montana and is now working in a hotel to pay off her uncle's debt.  She gets the chance to work as a seamstress for a traveling acting troupe, which takes her to San Francisco.  From there, Hattie works towards her dream of becoming a reporter.  Meanwhile, she struggles between this dream of being a reporter and her feelings for Charlie, who wants her to come to Seattle and marry him.

I really enjoyed Hattie Big Sky and I felt Hattie Ever After was a good sequel.  Larson's research is obvious in way she recreates Hattie's world.  Hattie is a plucky young heroine filled with hope.  It is hard not to like her.  I also enjoyed getting to know Charlie more in this novel.  Charlie makes a few appearances and struggles between wanting Hattie to marry him but also wanting her to follow her heart.  Charlie is infinitely patient. 

Hattie Ever After has a different feel than Hattie Big Sky.  The setting moves from the country and homesteading to a big city and newspapers.  I missed some of the earlier characters, especially Perrilee and her kids.  There were some parts of Hattie Big Sky that crushed me and I liked that not everything worked out.  Hattie Ever After is a much more upbeat book and opportunities often come up for Hattie.  I think it lost some of it's earlier realism, but I did appreciate the sweet ending. 

I really recommend this series - especially for younger readers. 

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