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Book Review: Our Only May Amelia & The Trouble with May Amelia

June 29, 2018

 

 

---BOOK REVIEW---

Title: Our Only May Amelia (Book One)

Author: Jennifer L. Holm

Genre: Middle Grade Historical Fiction

Grade Level: 3-7

Age Range 8-12 years​

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It isn′t easy being a pioneer in the state of Washington in 1899. It′s particularly hard when you are the only girl ever born in the new settlement.

 

With seven older brothers and a love of adventure, May Amelia Jackson just can′t seem to abide her family′s insistence that she behave like a Proper Young Lady. She′s sure she could do better if only there were at least one other girl living along the banks of the Nasel River. And now that Mama′s going to have a baby, maybe there′s hope.

 

Inspired by the diaries of her great-aunt, the real May Amelia, three-time Newbery Honor-winning author Jennifer Holm gives a beautifully crafted tale of one young girl whose unique spirit captures the courage, humour, passion and depth of the American pioneer experience.

 

* * *

 

I almost put this book down, since the text is a little unconventional. But after a while, I realized that was part of its charm. I'm glad I kept reading! Once I got into the rhythm of it, it was easier to read.

 

It's written from the perspective of May Amelia, a head-strong young woman. She is a main character I immediately identified with. 

 

She is absolutely hilarious. I laughed out loud several times. The things she thinks. The things she does. She's smart, but you know how kids are. As the only girl in this settlement, she was always trying to prove herself, and it got her into some sticky situations. 

 

There were heart-warming times, and also sad times in this story. I was never bored and always interested in what might happen.

 

The fact that it was based on a real person and a real place is a huge plus. Not only could I imagine this girl with her family on the river, I had a bit of envy. I wanted to be her. 

 

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---BOOK REVIEW---

Title: The Trouble with May Amelia (Book Two)

Author: Jennifer L. Holm

Genre: Middle Grade Historical Fiction

Grade Level: 3-7

Age Range 8-12 years​

 

May Amelia Jackson captured readers’ hearts in the Newbery Honor Book Our Only May Amelia. Now, after more than ten years, Jennifer Holm is bringing this beloved character back in a beautifully written story that’s both heartbreaking and hilarious.

 

May Amelia lives with her pioneer family on a farm in 1900, but she just can’t act the part of a proper young lady—and it doesn’t help that she has seven brothers and a Pappa who proclaim that Girls Are Useless. May Amelia jumps at the chance to earn her father’s respect when he asks her to translate for a gentleman who’s interested in buying their land and making them rich. But when the deal turns out to be a scam, Pappa places all the blame on May. It’s going to take a lot of sisu—that’s Finnish for guts—to make things right.

 

* * * 

 

It's rare that I like a sequel more than the original, but this is the case here. This book was similar to the first, especially since it's the same characters and such, but this one is amplified. More humor, more action, and even more personality.

 

Some of the events are tragic, but May's perspective is refreshing and hilarious. Reminds me of being a farm girl amongst a bunch of boys. If you have a girl ages 8-12, she will looove this book!

 

 

 

 

 

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