Friday, February 1, 2013

Hattie Ever After

Title: Hattie Ever After
Author: Kirby Larson
Publisher: Delacorte Press for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 12, 2013
Genre/Format: Historical Fiction/Novel
Goodreads 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.
What Kellee Thinks: I want to be friends with Hattie. She has so many qualities of a strong woman that are admirable - spontaneity, passion, hard-headedness and, of course, brains. Luckily, by the end of this book, you feel like you are friends with Hattie. To be perfectly honest, I did not feel this strongly about Hattie after the first book. I liked her, but in this book you really get to know her even more. And although she is in a new city with a new supporting cast, her old friends are not forgotten and we get updates about them throughout the book. This makes it so that Hattie Ever After is definitely a sequel to the first Hattie book, but it can also stand alone which I love. 
     What makes this book even better, is that it is written by an amazing author who makes a young girl's journey so vivid and enchanting that the reader feels that they are with Hattie. The most impressive aspect of Larson's writing is the voice which she gives Hattie specifically through the letters that she writes, the articles she creates, and the journal entries she keeps. These parts of the novel are also great mentor texts to use with students. 
What Jen Thinks: I love that readers get to hear how Hattie's story continues. I can completely see how much Hattie has grown up and how much she has learned now in Hattie Ever After. It's like a long-time friend who you have had so many experiences with but then someone you get to visit with again in a new chapter of her life.
     Hattie finds herself in a completely new city with a completely new cast of characters. Hattie dealt with gauging whom she could trust in Hattie Big Sky and readers see that this is an ongoing experience for Hattie...much like it is in real life! Any interactions warrant one person trusting another person to a certain extent. I love how this book is historical fiction but how the emotions she deals with could easily be experienced by readers.
     I have to mention that there is a bit of a love story in this book! Can you tell I was so excited by this!?! I'm thrilled actually. I always wondered what would happen when Charlie came home and Kirby Larson, the wonderful author that she is, let's us see how things play out with Charlie. I can't say any more other than it's the most wonderful kind of rollercoaster, which again I think readers will connect with because of the emotions and decisions Hattie has to make.
     I'm proud to know readers have Hattie as a strong female role model - a character who is truly believe-able and real and who handles the ups and downs of life as she goes along. Hooray for Hattie!
Read Together: Grades 5 to 9
Read Alone: Grades 6 and up
Read With: Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson, Our Only May Amelia and The Trouble with May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm, Penny from Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm, Around the World by Matt Phelan, Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan, Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry by Mildred D. Taylor, Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
Snatch of Text: "First impression might lead one to think that a newspaper morgue was as quiet as... well, as a morgue. Not that I know about that firsthand. But I did not think of "my" morgue as quiet. Even in the wee hours, a symphony of sounds reverberated throughout this place. First heard was the thwup as one weighty volume was slid from its shelf, followed by the satisfying thump as it was placed on the library table. Then the whisk-whisk refrain of pages being turned enhanced the concerto." (p. 91)
Mentor Text for: Imagery, Background Knowledge, Voice, Letter Writing, Article Writing, Predicting
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you trusted someone who betrayed you. Explain what trust means to you and how someone gains, loses, or re-establishes trust.
Topics Covered: WWI, Woman's Suffrage, Journalism, Earthquakes, Dreams, Perseverance, Determination, Trust, Betrayal, Loyalty
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