Friday, March 16, 2012

May B. (MG/YA)

May B. Caroline Rose. 2012. Random House. 240 pages.

I won't go.
"It's for the best," Ma says,
yanking to braid my hair,
trying to make something of what's left.
Ma and Pa wanted me to leave
and live with strangers.
I won't go.

Mavis Elizabeth Betterly is "May B." the heroine of Caroline Rose's historical verse novel. The novel is set in pioneer times in Kansas. Our young heroine, our oh-so-lovable heroine, is being forced by her parents to leave home. She's being hired out to a newlywed couple. A settler has married an Eastern woman who knows absolutely nothing about keeping house. NOTHING. May B. will sleep in a corner of the cabin and try to be as invisible as possible all the while doing all the work in and out of the house. Cooking, cleaning, and doing all the "womanly" tasks of the nineteenth century. The woman, the wife, is not friendly with May B. at all. The truth of the matter is that she is MISERABLE and regretting the decision to marry every minute of every hour of every day. She HATES her life, and she is so full of hating and bitterness that she can't be grateful to May B., she can't appreciate how much work this young girl does.

If all went according to plan, her father would pick May B. up around Christmas time. Just a handful of months--August to December--to live with strangers and do her share for her family. But all does NOT go according to plan. For something happens that changes everything. And May B. will have to depend on herself, learn to trust herself, in ways she couldn't have predicted in the summer.

I definitely LOVED this one. While not every reader will find pioneer stories equally appealing, this one is just oh-so-good! For historical fiction fans, this one may just be a must read!!! I found the heroine to be so lovable. I felt for her almost from the very start. Her narrative voice was very strong. Some of these poems were just amazing!

My favorites:

I play a game inside my head,
counting plum trees that dot a creek bed,
rabbits that scatter at the sound of wagon wheels,
clouds that skirt the sky.
For hours, that is all,
and grass,
always grass,
in different shades and textures
like the braids in a rag rug.

Miss Sanders told us that lines never end,
and numbers go on forever.
in short-grass country,
I understand infinity. (18)

So many things
I know about myself
I've learned from others.
Without someone else to listen,
to judge,
to tell me what to do,
and to choose
who I am,
do I get to decide for myself? (158)

Read May B.
  • If you love pioneer stories
  • If you love historical fiction
  • If you love coming-of-age stories
  • If you like survivor stories
  • If you like verse novels
  • If you like stories about heroines with reading problems (dyslexia)

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Kailana 11:58 AM  

I have been hearing a lot about this book. I will have to read it sooner rather than later!

melissa @ 1lbr 12:20 PM  

I just won a copy of this and I am so excited to read it! Pioneer stories are so great and I definitely don't read enough of them, though I usually love them when I do.

Kate@Midnight Book Girl 3:47 PM  

I would love to read this! I might have to get it for the next 24 readathon!

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
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