Jul 22, 2010

The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Elizabeth "Bet" Smith has always been a lowly maid's daughter. She has known her station her whole life, but it has never prevented her from wishing for more. Living a comfortable life between family & servant in Grangefield Hall with Will Gardener & his Uncle, Bet has truly wanted for nothing; other than the education that Will doesn't desire.

After hearing of Will's dreams of military service, Bet hatches a fantastic plan. What if Will goes off to the military & Bet takes his place at the new school? As preposterous as it sounds, Bet manages to fool Will's Uncle and so Will goes along with the plan.

After splitting up at an inn, Bet continues on her way to Betterman Academy. School it turns out is nothing like Bet could have imagined. She has a roommate (the impropriety!!), the boys are raucous & cruel, and there are dances. Even harder to deal with than these things are the growing feelings Bet has for her roommate. What's a girl-disguised-as-a-boy to do?

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. While I could figure out the base storyline at the beginning of the book, I still enjoyed watching this particular version unfold. Bet was such a colorful and articulate character that I truly enjoyed watching her struggle to understand the behavior of those around her and the decisions she had to make regarding her own reactions. Will, while mostly absent from the main storyline, was quite entertaining as well. He was that rogue boy every girl dreams of during this time period. There was a little mystery to him, but really he just wanted to be himself.

The interactions of the characters were what made this book such a success! I could not imagine this book being pulled off nearly as well if the characters had been flat and unengaged. They all had their roles to play from the dashing rogue, to the bully, to the stern, silent type. Everyone dealt with each other in such a particular fashion that, even if the subject wasn't identified, you knew who was speaking or doing the action. That is a rare quality in a book that I truly enjoy & admire the author's ability to pull it off.

A wonderfully charming read, The Education of Bet is one that I feel deserves at least one read. Take a peek. I promise it'll be worth it.

My many thanks to Around the World Tours for loaning me this book.


Jo said...

Nice review! I just ordered this for our library's collection -- looking forward to reading it, myself.

Allison (The Allure of Books) said...

Great review, I'm excited to read this...I have it on hold at the library.

Jennie said...

You just added another book to my TBR list! :)

loreleimarsh said...

Glad to be of service to you all! :)

YA Vampire Books said...

Sounds like a really good book! Great review