Sunday, December 12, 2010

Book Review: The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted



The Education of Bet, by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Release Date: July 12, 2010
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Pages: 192
Received: Library
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

Author's Page
Amazon Page 

Goodreads Page




Summary

The 1800s were not a good time for women in want of an education, as young Bet well knows. Inspired by her desire to learn, Bet jumps at the opportunity to attend boarding school. The only catch? Bet must disguise herself as her cousin Will in order to gain admittance. Donning the garb of a young man and lowering the pitch of her voice, Bet believes she will have no trouble blending in. But boys will be boys, as the old adage says, and Bet soon learns it takes more to be a boy than a swaggering walk. She soon finds herself struggling to navigate the unspoken social rules of boys, but her biggest challenge arises when she realizes she has fallen in love with her roommate.

Review


Ah, I feel like a drug pusher with all of my Lauren Baratz-Logsted posts. "Hey, hey you, blogger, ya wanna read something good? Come on, I got something for you." After reading The Twin's Daughter (Twin's Daughter review, Twin's Daughter cover review) I'm pretty sure I entered into cheerleader status. Now it's safe to say that I'm in full on fangirl mode. 

I didn’t intend to finish this book so quickly. I planned on going to sleep at a perfectly reasonable time. I got in bed and thought to myself, “I’ll just read the first chapter.” Pfft, famous last words of readers everywhere! Well, one chapter turned into two, which turned into three, and then four. By the time I realized how late it had gotten I was so invested in Bet’s story that I decided to just ignore the clock and read until the end.

And what an ending! But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. I should start at the beginning. Bet captured my heart from the very first. She’s sweet and loyal with a backbone of steel. Bet saw an opportunity and she seized it, despite all the dangers and all of the arguments to the contrary. I admired her bravery, but I also adored her for her weaknesses. Bet begins the book as a terribly na├»ve and sheltered girl. She expects boys to behave one way, but soon realizes her assumptions were very wrong. She is charmingly stubborn at first, but eventually she learns to adapt to these realities and triumph over them.

Then there is James, Bet’s roommate. I can completely understand why Bet fell for him. He is so sweet and attentive, but also admirable in that he always stays true to himself. James early on recognizes Bet’s oddities and decides to take her under his wing to protect her from bullies. Of course James believes Bet to be Will, and so his acceptance of Bet’s strange ways is all the more noble. In this manner, we see that James is not simply nice to Bet because he finds her attractive, but rather because he is a good person. 

The supporting “good” characters are beyond charming. I loved them. They sometimes seemed a little too good to believe, but that didn’t bother me one bit. They were the type of people I'd fantasize about if I were to picture a "perfect" cast with myself as the star. Loving, supporting, understanding, accepting, helpful, and fun. This was a happy book through and through, and I loved that. This is the kind of book that warms my heart, makes me smile, and earns itself a spot on the Special Shelf.

This happiness is what I liked best about The Education of Bet. The characters nestled their way into my heart. With each passing scene I felt the smile on my face growing wider and wider. I had to stifle giggles to make sure I didn’t wake anyone. Each scene was perfectly crafted in a way that was both entirely relatable (in emotion, if not in situation- though wouldn't that situation be fun?) and wholly enjoyable to read. I wasn’t expecting much from such a short book, but I am happy to say I totally underestimated Bet and her story.
 
 Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 

10 comments:

  1. Great review! I've been curious about this book for a while, and I'm glad to hear that it's such an excellent read. I'll have to push it up on my TBR!

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  2. Sounds lovely and charming! I haven't read anything by Lauren Baratz-Logsted before but I think your author pushing is working because I'm definitely interested in reading something by her now.

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  3. Oh man!!!! I've been wanting to read this. It's on my TBR but I never got around to getting a copy. Sigh. Must make it a priority. Sounds like something I would enjoy. :)

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  4. Aylee, I'm glad it's working! I'll be interested in seeing what you think of her.

    Cialina, I hope you get a copy soon. :)

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  5. I haven't read anything by her yet, but I suddenly want to. Thanks for the reivew! I'll definitely be adding it to my pile of books to read.

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  6. Sounds so good. Its nice to have a spirit-lifting read like this one, with all the downer, serious books out there, its nice to have a little pick me up. Something which can renew your faith in the human spirit. Thanks for the enjoyable review!

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  7. This book sounds really good! I need to put it on my TBR list! You always read such great books! A lot of the books that I've been putting on my TBR list lately has come from you! LoL. I can't wait to read this one!

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  8. I liked this book quite a bit. Kind of a guilty pleasure. I had a few quibbles with the writing, but it's the type of book that you just push that sort of thing aside.

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  9. Rather be Alive, I hope you enjoy her! I love her historical fiction books.

    Gina, Exactly! Serious books have their place for sure, but I *love* reading nice books.

    Laura, I'm so glad! I hope you enjoy all of them :)

    Alison, Yes, a total guilty pleasure. Definitely one of those books where I was just having so much fun the critical part of my brain just turned itself off.

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