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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

REVIEW: Hattie Ever After, by Kirby Larson

          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.

Those who fell in love with Hattie in Hattie Big Sky (2006) will love this long--awaited sequel. And picking up this book will leave you feeling like you're visiting a favorite old friend. It's a pleasant story, fulfilling. Though, Larson does leave you with the impression that there could be more to come, but it isn't necessary.

Older and wiser, Hattie is still out chasing HER dreams, not someone else's. That, in and of itself, lends this to be a story you share with tweens/young teens. The new characters are so well-described that you quickly form a good mental picture of them as you read.

I do feel, however, that maybe it's been a little too long for those who read Hattie when it was first published (7 years ago). She may have missed the return readers, who have now graduated high school. But, Larson will capture the attention of a new generation of readers desperate for good historical fiction after all the vampire/werewolf/witch books of late.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Random House Children's Books through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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