Hattie Ever After
By Kirby Larson
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Source: PublisherSummary: After leaving Uncle Chester's homestead claim, orphan Hattie Brooks throws a lasso around a new dream, even bigger than the Montana sky. She wants to be a reporter, knowing full well that a few pieces published in the Arlington News will not suffice. Real reporters must go to Grand Places, and do Grand Things, like Hattie's hero Nellie Bly. Another girl might be stymied by this, but Hattie has faced down a hungry wolf and stood up to a mob of angry men. Nothing can squash her desire to write for a big city newspaper. A letter and love token from Uncle Chester's old flame in San Francisco fuels that desire and Hattie jumps at the opportunity to get there by working as a seamstress for a traveling acting troupe. This could be her chance to solve the mystery of her "scoundrel" uncle and, in the process, help her learn more about herself. But Hattie must first tell Charlie that she will not join him in Seattle. Even though her heart approves of Charlie's plan for their marriage, her mind fears that saying yes to him would be saying no to herself. Hattie holds her own in the big city, literally pitching her way to a byline, and a career that could be even bigger than Nellie Bly's. But can making headlines compensate for the pain of betrayal and lost love? Hattie must dig deep to find her own true place in the world. Kirby Larson once again creates a lovingly written novel about the remarkable and resilient young orphan, Hattie Inez Brooks.
Review: I am completely in love with the late 1910s/early 1920s era, so when I saw this book, I was super excited to start the story. I never read the first book Hattie Big Sky, but seeing as that was published in 2006, 7 years ago, I didn't think I'd have too much to miss out on in this second book.
After failing to start up the farm of her Uncle Chester, Hattie is determined to follow her true dreams in life: to become a reporter. Following a traveling act troupe as their seamstress, Hattie makes her way to San Francisco where she gets a job as a cleaning lady at a newspaper office. Hattie slowly makes her way into the reporting world, which is quite the struggle in a society where women were definitely not seen in the bylines. Not to mention Charlie, Hattie's could-be-more-than-friend has just gotten a job in Seattle and wants her to move with him. What's a girl to do when she wants to make it big in a world not meant for women?
Reading Hattie's story was definitely an interesting and fun experience. I loved how Hattie was in her late teens because that's definitely a side to this era I haven't really been exposed to before. My favorite part of this book, though, was how it was about the newspaper industry. Hattie's dream of becoming a reporter was so inspiring and I was rooting for her to succeed the entire way there.
The only problem I had with this book had to be the fact that things fit together a little too easily. Hattie just happened to be in the right place at the right time too many times. Like when she would spend time in the newspaper's morgue looking for information on her Uncle, twice she "accidentally" found the information she was looking for. Why couldn't she have come across it normally instead of it being marked by a bent page or fly off the shelf as if by magic? The way things just happened to Hattie were a bit annoying to me.
Other than that, though, Hattie Ever After is a really cute book during an intriguing time in American history. If you're into historical YA fiction, I would say give this book a try. It's definitely a fast read, but it gives you a glimpse in the life of a young reporter trying to break through the stereotypes of the world.