Hattie Inez Brooks, the determined 17-year-old heroine of Larson's Newbery Honor-winning Hattie Big Sky, returns in this follow-up set in 1919. Her homestead claim having failed, Hattie soldiers through her menial job in a boardinghouse until a traveling acting troupe offers her a job that thrusts her into city life in San Francisco, giving her the chance to pursue her real dream: becoming a reporter. Larson deftly balances first-person narration with charming letters and newspaper stories written by Hattie. The city presents a colorful cast of characters, including an attractive reporter and a duplicitous con artist who pretends to be her ally. Hattie's struggle to become a journalist-working first as a maid, graduating to researching, and beginning to write-forms the emotional heart of the story, though there's a moving romantic undercurrent, as well, as Hattie contemplates whether she should settle down with Charlie, her love interest back home. Fans of the first novel will gladly reconnect with this memorable heroine, but the narrative stands firmly on its own, too. Ages 10-up. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary Management.
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Plucky Hattie Inez Brooks, star of Hattie Big Sky (2006), returns to try to find her place in the world. Having spent a year trying--and failing--to make a go of Uncle Chester's Montana homestead, Hattie is now 17 and working at Brown's Boardinghouse in Great Falls. She decides to "[throw] a lasso around a dream even bigger than a Montana farm" and heads to San Francisco, aiming to be a reporter like Ida Tarbell and Nellie Bly and do Grand Things. And though Charlie Hawley wants to marry her, Hattie fears that "saying yes to him was saying no to myself." She needs to find her place in the world, a place she has concluded is "connected to the working end of a pen." Larson's prodigious research allows her to accurately recreate San Francisco between 1915 and 1920, and the city will come alive for readers as much as it does for Hattie, with crowds of people, clanging streetcar bells, the smells of China Town and 10-story-high skyscrapers. Readers will fall for this earnest, wide-eyed and strong-minded young woman who does indeed become a reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle, covering baseball, an airplane excursion and an earthquake and even interviewing President Woodrow Wilson. Historical fiction with heart. (Historical fiction. 10 & up)
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2012:
“Readers will fall for this earnest, wide-eyed and strong-minded young woman… Historical fiction with heart.”
Washington Post, March 10, 2013:
"Larson brings this bustling city to vivid life through glimpses of Chinatown, Great Beach Highway and the Chronicle offices, with their “inky perfume” and clattering presses. The novel also has a nice tie-in to National Women’s History Month, exploring as it does the changing role of women in the post-World War I workplace...[Don't let the] age range stop you from sharing this lively tale with younger newshounds and history buffs."
Booklist, February 1, 2013:
"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...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."
Publishers Weekly, February 18, 2013:
"Fans of the first novel will gladly reconnect with this memorable heroine, but the narrative stands firmly on its own, too."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February 2013:
"Hattie is the kind of character readers actually wonder about after closing the book, and her fans from her first title will be satisfied, and even perhaps relieved, to know she finds her footing in the world."
School Library Journal, March 2013:
"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."
Starred Review, Shelf Awareness, March 26, 2013:
"Engaging and absorbing...Hattie Ever After reflects Larson's meticulous research, yet the historical details never overwhelm the story or the characters. Instead, all the elements combine to form a multilayered and colorful story. Readers will be thrilled to follow the trials and triumphs of Miss Hattie Inez Brooks in 1919 San Francisco."
From the Hardcover edition.
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, VA