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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Betsy Was a Junior and Betsy and Joe

 I've written about Maud Hart Lovelace before, including the Betsy-Tacy series.  The series is based on MHL's life in Mankato, Minnesota and her growing up years.  Oh, I highly recommend it!  (If your library doesn't have the books, don't forget to request them; they are now re-released and quite affordable...two books/1 volume for about $10 on Amazon.)  This summer when our family went to camp, I took along the single book that includes the third and fourth books of lovable Betsy's high school years, Betsy Was a Junior and Betsy and Joe.  I couldn't put it down.  I just love reading about the town of Deep Valley along with Betsy and her friends in the early 1900's.  (Want to hear something really funny?  My friend who also attended camp brought along a MHL book, but she brought along Betsy's Wedding!  We had a bit of a laugh over this as we were relaxing and reading MHL outside our cabins at the same time.)

In Betsy Was a Junior, Betsy's sister goes away to college.  When she comes home, she tells of the sororities who are rushing her.  It's not long before Betsy gets the idea to begin a sorority of her friends.  She thinks that sisterhood can't have any downfalls.  As I was reading and loving the book, I was also very frustrated that Betsy didn't listen to her inner thoughts more.  (And I'm definitely not a sorority girl, which didn't help my opinion, though I could understand Betsy's reasons for appreciating the sisterhood.)  She really wanted to get to know a classmate better, but all of her time was spent with the sorority sisters.  In the end, Betsy and the girls learn their lesson, but not the easy way!

I had fully intended to put the book down when Betsy Was a Junior was completed, but these books are so refreshing and fun, I just had to continue the story.

Betsy and Joe surprised me.  As a MHL fan, I of course know (SPOILER if you don't know) that Betsy and Joe marry.  I was expecting Betsy's senior year of high school in Betsy and Joe to be filled with their romance.  Well, I was wrong!  Betsy "dates" both Tony and Joe.  I love that though Betsy was interested in boys, she was not interested in kissing.  Oh what lessons we can learn from Betsy!
"She thought it was silly to be letting first this boy and
 then that one kiss you, when it didn't mean a thing."
So though she spent a lot of time with Joe and Tony, it wasn't what many call dating today.  It was refreshing...even if it was with two fellows.  Seriously.  (Though her dating two guys was frustrating...) 

Oh, I would love to have The Betsy-Tacy Companion.  Even used (on Amazon) it is $45!  It would help me to know that really, "Betsy" didn't even meet "Joe" until well after high school in real life.  So all of my frustrations didn't have to be due to these books being based on real life.

Now if you have never read Maud Hart Lovelace before, please do!!  (As much as I enjoyed these, Emily of Deep Valley, linked to review, is still my favorite.)  These books are fabulous.  In a few days my daughter will turn 5 and she will get the very first book in the series, Betsy-Tacy.  I can't wait to share it with her!  And the books will grow up with her with more developed plot, character, and even language as the characters get older!

Now, I just need to figure out when my daughter will get to read the rest of the books...

I will be sharing these thoughts over at the Maud Hart Lovelace Reading Challenge at Library Hospital!!

Read more of my thoughts on Deep Valley , then go out and get yourself a copy!
 Emily of Deep Valley ~ My all time favorite!!


LC said...

I will have to look into this author. This is the first time I've heard of her. Thanks for the recommendation.

Bluerose said...

I can't wait to read all the books! It looks like for this month, though, I'll only be able to make it to book 3. They are very fun, though!

I just went searching online again for both of the Deep Valley books, hoping they were cheaper somewhere. No luck, though! :(

Carrie said...

Betsy and Joe HAVE to marry - just like Anne and Gilbert do. So that shouldn't be too much of a spoiler. ;)

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

I skimmed your review because I haven't read any of the older BTT books, but I just wanted to say that I'm glad to know the older ones are just as enjoyable as the younger!

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