The Best School Year Ever
That's the kind of junior year Betsy Ray has planned for herself. And when her childhood friend Tib Muller moves back to Deep Valley, Betsy's sure her perfect year is off to a grand start. With charming, funny Tib around, Crowd doings are more fun than ever -- especially after Betsy starts Okto Delta, the first -- ever sorority at Deep Valley High.
But soon Betsy's luck takes a bad turn. The Crowd is getting into trouble at school, and Betsy isn't given a chance to compete in the annual Essay Contest. Could Betsy's best school year turn out to be her worst?
About the Author
Maud Hart Lovelace (1892-1980) was the beloved author of the Betsy-Tacy books as well as many other books for adults and children.
Read an Excerpt
Besty Ray sat in a rowboat which was anchored in Babcock's Bay, two watery miles opposite Murmuring Lake Inn, where the Ray family had been spending the summer. The oars were folded across the boat and on the seat beside her lay a fat notebook which she used as a journal and several sharply pointed pencils. She sat with her arms bound about her knees, staring at a gauzy-winged dragon fly which had come to rest on the prow of the boat. Her expression was serious, not to say grim. She was taking stock.
Betsy was fond of this bay. It was strewn thickly with water lilies. Their flat green pads and creamy, richly scented blossoms floated on the water all around her. The shore was lined with trees willows, cottonwoods, box elders. In other parts of the lake rows of summer cottages or low-lying farms came to the water's edge. This cove was remote; moored here, you might have thought that you were in a wilderness except for the fact that a green wooded point, jutting into the lake to the east, showed the rooftop of the lnn.
When Betsy wished to achieve the illusion of a wilderness she did not look in that direction.
Murmuring Lake Inn was a highly social place. Crowds of young people followed a careless routine walks, boat rides, and leisurely games of croquet; bathing every afternoon at four. Mothers rocked, read and embroidered on the shady porches and vacationing fathers fished. Mr. Ray drove out from his shoe store in nearby Deep Valley every night, and in the evening there were launch rides and informal hops in the big parlor.
Betsy had had a gay summer. She was sorry it was endingtomorrow. She wondered now, staring at the dragon fly, and beyond him across the glassy lake, whether it had been too gay, but decided that it hadn't been.
"It's been wonderful, she thought. "It's just the sort of summer you ought to have at sixteen."
Betsy was sixteen and next month she would begin her third year of high school. She was exactly halfway through, which made this an excellent time for taking stock.
"I wish I was just beginning and had it all ahead of me," she said with a long romantic sigh. But she said it because she thought it was the proper thing to say. She was really pleased to be an upper classman.
She had certainly had fun. She belonged to a flexible Crowd of a dozen or so boys and girls who stirred up fun as briskly as the cook at the Inn stirred up hot cakes for breakfast. She had really been too frivolous, Betsy decided. Yet the two years had had their perplexities, too, their worries, and even their heartaches.
She had had heartaches over boys, over wanting to be popular. The Ray house, with its three daughters, was always full of boys but boys liked Betsy usually in a friendly sort of way. She had longed to be a siren like her older sister, Julia.
In particular, during her freshman year, she had had a heartache over Tony. Although a classmate, he was slightly older, more sophisticated than the rest. He had a bush of curly black hair, bold laughing eyes, a lazy drawling voice. Betsy had thought she was in love with him, but he had only liked her in a maddening, brotherly way. By the end of the year, however, her infatuation had ebbed away. She liked Tony still, almost better than any boy she knew, but now her feeling was as sisterly as his was brotherly.
"That's life for you," Betsy said aloud, and appropriately, the dragon fly flew away.
In her freshman year, too, she had had a heartache over losing the Essay Contest. Every year the two societies into which the school was divided competed for a cup in essay writing. Both years Betsy had been chosen to represent her class and both years she had lost to Joe Willard. He was an orphan who was working his way through school. Betsy liked him very much but she didn't like losing the Essay Contest.
She had minded it most the first year, for then she had felt guilty. She had not prepared for the Contest properly, she had not read the material she was supposed to have read. One of the great lessons she had learned in high school had come after that defeat. She had learned that her gift for writing was important to her and that she must never neglect it.
"I haven't really neglected it since," she thought. "I've kept up my journal, I'm writing a novel, I worked hard on my English assignments last year and I studied for the Essay Contest. I lost it again but this time it wasn't through any fault of mine."
She had not done her best because, by an ironical chance, the Contest had coincided with a quarrel she had with Phil Brandish.
Phil Brandish had been the great outstanding triumph of Betsy's sophomore year. She had tried that year to acquire a new personality, to act Dramatic and Mysterious, and in this role she had captured Phil Brandish's interest. But she had not enjoyed pretending all the time to be something she wasn't. She had decided before the season ended that she preferred, usually, just to be herself.
"I learned a lot from that affair, though," she thought now, frowning. "I've had more poise with boys since then. Julia says I'm more charming. Of course, I didn't keep Phil, but then, I didn't want to."
He was a sulky, aloof boy whose chief charm had been a red automobile. He and his twin, Phyllis, were grandchildren of the rich Home Brandish, who lived in a mansion on the west side of Deep Valley. Phyllis went to boarding school Browner Seminary in Milwaukee. By a coincidence this school was attended by a great friend of Betsy's, Thelma Muller, irrevocably nicknamed Tib.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Betsy was a Junior: Betsy is now is Junior High. She's so excited and she has new resolutions for the year. To make matters even better her other best friend Tib Muller is moving back and will be attending school with them. The beggining of the year doesn't go as well as planned, but Betsy decides to start a sorority ( like a club) with her friends. But is this a good idea? Fiction I really loved the beginning of the Betsy/ Tacy series. I liked hearing about Besty and Tacy's adventures and the fun they had when they were younger. But for me it started going downhill when they started Highschool. Once they started highschool, there was a bunch of boys, and dances, and not so many adventures. It was just sort of boring. Plus those books are more about Besty and really don't have Tacy in them that much. This book was a little better than the last two, and I hope the rest get better. I still can't wait to read the rest of this series.