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Hattie Ever After Hardcover – February 12, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-The feisty protagonist from Hattie Big Sky (Delacorte, 2006) returns. In 1919, the 17-year-old is working at a boardinghouse in Montana. The restlessness that she has been feeling comes to a head when a surprise visit from Charlie makes her see that she cannot contemplate settling down as his wife until she pursues her own ambitions as a reporter. Hattie travels with a vaudeville troupe to San Francisco. At first, it seems that her only exposure to the newspaper world will be as the night-shift cleaning woman for the San Francisco Chronicle, but perseverance and a few lucky coincidences allow her to achieve her dream of being a full-fledged reporter in a way that highlights the struggles of women in the workforce in the aftermath of World War I. Along the way, Hattie struggles with her decision to leave Charlie behind, especially as she is betrayed by people she thought were friends. As difficult as some of these incidents are, Hattie manages to find true friendship in surprising places. Larson's meticulous research brings early-20th-century San Francisco to life, and readers will feel that they are right there with Hattie in the hustle and bustle of a booming city. The way in which she achieves not only her professional ambitions but also personal growth and fulfillment leads to a wholly satisfying conclusion, and the author's note gives readers a good feel for the solid historical foundations of Hattie's story. While this novel stands on its own, references to characters and events in the earlier book may be confusing to those meeting Hattie for the first time.-Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Readers first met Hattie Brooks in the Newbery Honor Book Hattie Big Sky (2006). Now Hattie has left Montana for San Francisco, hoping she can somehow find a way to become a newspaper reporter. In quick succession, Hattie works as seamstress for a vaudeville troupe, a char woman at the San Francisco Chronicle, and then becomes a researcher there as she finds ways—and people to help her—work her way up the ladder. One of the best parts about this is the way Larson brings San Francisco, circa 1919, alive—especially the opportunities and stumbling blocks for women. Less successful are a few of the plot points, including the introduction of a scammer, who seemingly spends more money on Hattie than the small change she is able to swindle from her. But fans of the first book will be thrilled to see the ups and downs of Hattie’s romance with old boyfriend Charlie, while her relationship with another fellow leads to an interesting twist. This is reminiscent of Maude Hart Lovelace’s later Betsy books, whose heroine also wanted to write. And that’s high praise. Grades 7-10. --Cooper, Ilene
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Top customer reviews
Hattie leaps at the opportunity to go to San Francisco with a traveling acting troupe. The city draws her even more so, as she's sure she can learn more about her Uncle Chester - was he really the scoundrel he said he was? Nothing in Montana seemed to suggest that he really was. And though her childhood friend Charlie wants to marry her, Hattie worries that "saying yes to him was saying no to myself." With her head full of questions, Hattie sets off for San Francisco in the summer of 1919.
Larson hits her stride when Hattie reaches San Francisco. The city comes alive with the many details she weaves into the story. From her first glimpse of Newspaper Row, with the Call, the Examiner and the Chronicle Buildings all next to each other, to an exhilarating airplane ride over the bay, Hattie is like a little child soaking in every sight.
Readers will cheer Hattie on as she steps into the Chronicle Building to apply for a job. Hattie has pluck and determination, realizing that she might need to start on the cleaning staff of the newspaper, but with a little luck and hard work she might be able to get a break. Larson builds suspense as Hattie makes new friends, investigates news stories, and gets a lucky break at the Chronicle. Throughout, she is passionate and earnest, following her dream. Many young readers who are drawn to Hattie's story will empathize with her dream of becoming a writer and making her mark on the world.
As a reader of many historical novels over the years and a big fan of stories regarding the pioneers on the prairie I immediately fell in love with Hattie in the first story and knew I would grow to appreciate her more as she moved to the big city in the sequel.
At the beginning of the story the reader finds Hattie with many choices to make. This theme runs throughout the story as Hattie calls on prayer, friends, and at times her inner voice to help her find her place in life. When Hattie left her Montana homestead she also left dreams and a sense of purpose.
Throughout this novel we find Hattie not taking no for an answer and working hard to meet her goals. We are introduced to new characters, some we will cheer for and others we will jeer. The characters are well developed, while still giving the reader the opportunity to make them It is great to find old friends from Hattie Big Sky in this novel as well. There is less of a focus on the war in the sequel, but it does give readers in insight to life after the way as the "boys" returned from fighting over seas.
The readers are lead through an adventure in perseverance and will as Hattie works to become a female reporter in a world where they are few and far between. We learn about Hattie's unwillingness to accept no for an answer and that she is not afraid of hard work.
Hattie is a tremendous role model for all girls. She is strong and determined. She does not let being a girl stand in her way of things or use it as an excuse either. She thinks for herself and does not allow her judgement to be clouded by suitors.
I loved how this book ended and thought that it brought together all the loose ends and gives a sense of closure more than the previous novel. I think it shows that hard work pays off and that if something is important to someone they will find a way to make it all work out.
Hattie is a character that will stay with many for many years. I will enthusiastically recommend this book to my middle school students! I have suggested it to quite a few adults already as well!