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My Beautiful Hippie Hardcover – January 15, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-Joanne, 15, lives with her family in the Haight District of San Francisco during the 1967 Summer of Love. When she meets free-spirited Martin, she is introduced to a lifestyle that contradicts the traditional values of her middle-class family. Joanne is a quiet, socially withdrawn piano player with one close friend, Rena. However, the girls begin to grow apart as Rena pursues her interest in the San Francisco theater scene and Joanne pursues her interest in Martin and his brother's famous local band. Martin's spontaneous nature leaves her both excited and put off by their lack of consistent plans and commitment. Joanne's siblings are also struggling with the changing times. Her sister has just sacrificed her college education to marry an older, chauvinist professor, and her brother is actively avoiding school so he can be drafted to fight in Vietnam. The story climaxes when the three siblings all reach a crossroads. Readers may find some of the cultural references and plot devices to be heavy-handed and contrived in an effort to cover multiple aspects of the era. However, the ending is believable and satisfying. Teens will relate to Joanne's changing relationships and family dynamics, and her struggle to define herself outside of her family.-Lynn Rashid, Marriotts Ridge High School, Marriottsville, MDα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

“My life was that of a regular middle-class teenage girl, who just happened to live in Haight-Ashbury during the Summer of Love.” Soon-to-be junior Joanne loves the new hippie culture taking over her San Francisco neighborhood, much to her parents’ horror. When she meets far-out Martin, with “wavy, honey-brown shoulder-length hair,” she starts wearing tie-dye and sneaking out to see him. Martin introduces her to the counterculture of peace, love, and rock ’n’ roll; it’s a world vastly different from her homelife, with a brother who is eager to go to Nam and an 18-year-old sister recently, and unhappily, married. The Summer of Love gives way to that historically pivotal year, 1968, and the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. Soon Joanne must decide: should she follow free-spirited Martin or assume her duties as a good middle-class girl? Teens who are into the 1960s, or just want to learn more about the tumultuous time period, will find abundant period details in Lynch’s groovy novel: love beads, acid trips, antiwar protests, psychedelic dances, and music—lots of music. Grades 8-11. --Ann Kelley
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Holiday House; First Edition edition (January 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823426033
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823426034
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,739,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Janet Nichols Lynch, born and raised in Sacramento, California, is the author of ten books. Her upcoming YA novel MY BEAUTIFUL HIPPIE (Holiday House, 2013) is set in the Haight-Ashbury during 1967-8. RACING CALIFORNIA (Holiday House 2012) is about the Amgen Tour of California, the most prestigious professional cycling stage race in the U.S. Her other works include three other YA novels, ADDICTED TO HER (Holiday House 2010), MESSED UP (Holiday House, 2009) and PEACE IS A FOUR-LETTER WORD (Heyday, 2005), a mainstream novel CHEST PAINS (Bridge Works, 2009), a short story collection, WHERE WORDS LEAVE OFF MUSIC BEGINS (iUniverse, 2004), two nonfiction books about music for young readers, AMERICAN MUSIC MAKERS: An Introduction to American Composers (Walker, 1990) and WOMEN MUSIC MAKERS: An Introduction to Women Composers (Walker, 1992), and the juvenile novel CASEY WOOSTER'S PET CARE SERVICE (Atheneum, 1993).


In 1976, Janet began her writing career as a cycling journalist, reporting for Competitive Cycling, Bike World, Bicycling, Women's Sports, and Young Athlete. In 1984 her first published short story appeared in The New Yorker, and since then her fiction has been included in Seventeen, The San Joaquin Review, The Baltimore Review, Confrontation, Writer's Forum, and the anthology of California writers Highway 99: a Literary Journey through California's Great Central Valley. For the past thirteen years, Janet has read her fiction on Valley Public Radio's (KVPR, Fresno and KVPX Bakersfield FM 89.3)Valley Writers Read, hosted by Franz Weinschenk.


Janet received a B.A. in Music from California State University, Sacramento, a Master of Music Degree in Piano from Arizona State University, and a M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno, where she won the 2003 Outstanding Thesis Award for the College of Arts and Humanities. Her YA novel MESSED UP won an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers and a VOYA Top of the Top Shelf for Middle Grade Fiction. She has taught music at De Anza College and Skyline College and music and English at College of the Sequoias; English at Divisadero Middle School, and currently she teaches English and World History at El Diamante High School. She competes in marathons and triathlons and has raced bicycles and cycle-toured in the U.S. and Europe. Recently she completed her first Half Ironman. She lives in Visalia with her husband, Timothy; they have two grown children Caitlin and Sean.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maggie Knapp on August 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Set in 1960's San Francisco, this book is a low key and sophisticated coming of age story. Joanne is a fairly average girl, living with her fairly average family in Haight Ashbury. Her older sister is getting married, her brother is active in JROTC, her mother disapproves of the "feminist" neighbor and paisley and love beads are all the rage. Author Lynch has done her research with the period details. While words like "Negro" might grate a little, they are as true to the time period as Day-Glo paint, draft dodgers and Transcendental Meditation. When Joanne crosses paths with a neighborhood hippie, she finds out he's a musician with some talent (Joanne plays the piano) and they begin a sort of relationship.

As the book progresses, values of all sorts all called into question. Remember when a woman was supposed to tolerate (and be flattered by) a boss's advances, and a hot dinner on the table every night was a wife's duty? I enjoyed watching how Joanne handled the relationship with her beautiful hippie - while nothing Earth-shattering happens, it was an interesting slice of life in the 1960s. I'll suggest it to thoughtful high school students.

About me: I'm a middle school/high school librarian
How I got this book: Received from the publisher at a library conference
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My Beautiful Hippie is the engaging coming of age story of Joanne, who is fifteen during the summer of love (1967) and living in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. The book is a YA novel, and for the first chapter or so I tried to imagine myself as one of today's young adults reading about this legendary period of time in our nation's history--massive protests against the Viet Nam war, hippies sleeping on the streets, widespread experimentation with marijuana and LSD, free love and the Pill. But because I was just a few years older than the protagonist (sometimes called Joni or even Jo like the independent-minded and beloved fictional Jo March that she resembles), during that time period, I soon found myself immersed in memories--the clash of cultures, the questioning of ideals, and the unleashing of so much repression that we all felt in the late 60's. Author Janet Nichols Lynch has recreated that world and brought it to life through a cast of characters--mainly one traditional middle-class family that lived in the heart of the seeming chaos--each of whom must confront the revolutionary changes occurring everywhere around them.
Joni, her brother Dan (who attempts to sign up and is eventually drafted), and her sister Denise (who at first follows the traditional pattern for women of marrying young and foregoing an education) as well as their parents cope with the rapid societal change in accordance with their own personal needs and beliefs. But it is Joni's story that is central to the novel.
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