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Heaven to Betsy/Betsy in Spite of Herself Paperback – September 29, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


“Slipping into a Betsy book is like slipping into a favorite pair of well-worn slippers: It’s always a pleasure to live in Betsy’s world for a little while, to experience her simple joys, but also her (thankfully short-lived) sorrows.” (Meg Cabot)

“There are three authors whose body of work I have reread more than once over my adult life: Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and Maud Hart Lovelace. We fell in love....and wanted to know from year to year what was happening to them. Betsy-Tacy fans never die. They just re-read.” (Anna Quindlen)

“I re-read these books every year, marveling at how a world so quaint--shirtwaists! Pompadours! Merry Widow hats!--can feature a heroine who is undeniably modern.” (Laura Lippman)

“I read every one of these Betsy-Tacy-Tib books twice. I loved them as a child, as a young adult, and now, reading them with my daughter, as a mother. What a wonderful world it was!” (Bette Midler, actor and singer)

“Some characters become your friends for life. That’s how it was for me with Betsy-Tacy.” (Judy Blume, bestselling author)

“The Betsy-Tacy books were among my favorites when I was growing up.” (Nora Ephron, Academy Award-nominated director)

“I am fairly certain that my independent, high-spirited grandmother must have had a childhood similar to Betsy Ray’s…As I read..., I felt that I was having an unexpected and welcome peek into Granny’s childhood—a gift to me from Maud Hart Lovelace.” (Ann M. Martin, creator/author of The Baby-sitter's Club)

“Family loyalty and the devotion of friends to one another, which for me are the defining characteristics of the Betsy-Tacy stories.” (Esther Hautzig, Award-winning author, former Director of Children’s Book Promotion for Thomas Y. Crowell Co., and former publicist for Betsy’s Wedding in 1955)

“I truly consider BETSY AND TACY GO DOWNTOWN to be the finest novel in the English language! I will never love any other books as much as I love the Betsy-Tacy books.” (Claudia Mills, children’s book author, winner of National Book Award and Golden Kite Award)

“I grew up 30 miles north of Mankato, and trips to town were filled with mystery and magic, because I was walking the same streets that Betsy and Tacy once walked. The Betsy-Tacy books...., more than any other books, fed my dream of becoming a writer one day.” (Jill Kalz, 2008 MN Book Awards Readers' Choice Award winner)

“When I was growing up in the Bronx, I had lots of friends. But the girls I most enjoyed spending time with were Betsy, Tacy and the series by Maud Hart Lovelace... – three girls full of good ideas, adventures and fun.” (Johanna Hurwitz, award-winning author of more than sixty popular books for young readers)

From the Back Cover

Heaven to Betsy: Betsy Ray is loving every minute of freshman year at Deep Valley High—with new and old friends all around her . . . not to mention boys! But most intriguing of all is the one she and her best friend, Tacy, dub "the Tall Dark Stranger."

Betsy in Spite of Herself: Betsy is at the center of every activity as a Deep Valley High sophomore—and suddenly, thanks to her old friend Tib, she's offered a golden opportunity for glorious transformation. But will she impress the special boy by becoming dramatic, mysterious Betsye—or would she be better off just being Betsy in spite of herself?

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (September 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061794694
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061794698
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Maud Hart Lovelace, born in 1892, is the author of the Betsy-Tacy series, in addition to several other books for adults and children. She based the Betsy-Tacy series on her own childhood and once wrote, "I lived the happiest childhood a child could possibly know," and it is this joy that comes through in her books. She died in 1980 but her legacy lives on in the beloved series she created and in her legions of fans, many of whom are members of the Betsy-Tacy Society, a national organization based in Mankato, MN.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By BookClubGirl on October 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
I read these books as a child and reread them to this day. The first four books, Betsy Tacy, Betsy Tacy and Tib, Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill, Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown are wonderful for a girl age 5 and up. The books progress in reading level as they go, as well as in themes. The final six books in the series, just reissued in 3 2-book volumes, are absolutely amazing. They are Heaven to Betsy/Betsy in Spite of Herself; Betsy was a Junior/Betsy and Joe; Betsy and the Great World/Betsy's Wedding and are great for a girl age 9 and up. We follow Betsy through four years of high school, with dances, rides in autos, boys and hijinks. Then she's off for a year of travel in Europe just prior to the outbreak of WWI and then she returns home to marry her high school sweetheart and begin on her writing career. Lovelace based these books on her own upbringing in Mankato, Minnesota and they are simply wonderful. This summer I traveled to Mankato for the Betsy Tacy Convention and saw Betsy's, Tacy's and Tib's house. I cannot wait to read these with my own daughter, but in the meantime, I will continue to reread them. They are my literary equivalent of comfort food. Fans include such bestselling authors as Meg Cabot, Laura Lippman, Anna Quindlen, Nora Ephron, Judy Blume, Nancy Pearl, Joyce Maynard, and Mary Kay Andrews!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Weissman on October 3, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Betsy Ray and her friends are in high school now. This volume covers Betsy's freshman and sophomore years in Deep Valley High School, and comes with bonus information about the author and the real life originals of the characters.

Boys, clothes, gossip, teachers, who's in and who's out, putting off your schoolwork, dances, food, and other forms of fun fill their high school days. Who will Betsy go out with on any given weekend? Who will ask her to the dance first? What will she and her friends get up to on their own?

Will Betsy be true to herself as a writer, or try to act different to attract boys? Will it work?

All this is set in the first decade of the 20th century, when cars and phones and such were new. People walked most places they wanted to go, or took the train. Clothes were made to order by seamstresses. But even if they looked different, people don't change much. This is the best picture of how high school feels that I know of.

So come live through it with Betsy, Tacy, Tib, Irma, Winona and more. Not to mention Tony, Cab, Phil, LLoyd, and a host of others.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Carol McGee on October 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
The first two novels in the high school books are big favorites of mine. When I was in high school, my parents got a divorce and my mom and I moved to a small apartment and my life changed immeasurably. But I could always count on Betsy and the members of her crowd to help me deal with the immense upheaval I was going through. Reading these for the first or the fiftieth time you realize that the more things change, the more they stay the same. When you're 14, (in 1906 or 1982) you have HUGE all-encompassing crushes, and you have the best friends you'll EVER have, and every little change is a LIFE-CHANGER (or at least, that's how it feels!). Read these books and no matter how old you are, you'll return to them again and again because they're that soothing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen A. Baxter on October 3, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nothing in the world makes you feel better than a Betsy-Tacy book, and, in my opinion, Heaven to Betsy is the best of them all, although every other Betsy-Tacy book is a close second.
A male friend of mine who read the whole series describes Lovelace as the American Proust. You are THERE with Betsy and her family in Deep Valley, Minnesota, starting in 1897 and concluding 20 years later.
Along the way you relive a happy childhood and with Betsy and her friends--and then go on to a typical adolescent teenage period, before the last two books, which include Betsy's adventures in the Great World and, at last, her marriage and early wedded life to the guy she's loved since the day she met him.
Home schoolers and their parents love these books. The quality of the writing is unsurpassed, the values are superb and these girls are great role models, without being in any way boring--they are altogether too human for that.
You want laugh out loud funny? Read a Betsy-Tacy book.
You want a few tears and a lot of empathizing?
You want nostalgia, and love, and joy? Lovelace delivers them all, in spades.
Amazing, accomplished women all over the world love these books. Don't miss out on one of the greatest pleasures life can afford--an introduction to the world of Betsy Ray.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Barbara on October 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book actually contains TWO of the books from the original 10-book series, which follows Betsy Ray from age five through her early twenties. Though Betsy enters high school in 1906, her trials, joys, worries, and successes are actually timeless. The first four books in the series, though delightful and beautifully written, are written more simply, and with younger children in mind (though don't miss them!) With Heaven to Betsy, however, the fifth book and the first of the four high school books, the writing style changes somewhat and would appeal to almost anyone age ten to 100. Truly, the writing is just excellent. These are books that I have read over and over again, beginning at age ten or so; I just love them. The first four books (starting with Betsy-Tacy) would be great read-alouds for younger girls, and the later ones would be terrific beach or airplane fare (or to give someone for a cold winter's night read by the fire). Give them a try!
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