February 24, 2012

Book Review: The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logstead

At First Sight: Bet Smith has lived in a bit of a limbo for as long as she can remember, not quite family nor servant to Paul Gardener and his nephew Will - whom Bet considers a brother, since they were raised together and their birthdays are only one month apart.

After Will is expelled from yet another school, and confesses to Bet his desire to join the army, Bet takes it upon herself to hatch a plan that will allow them both to follow their dreams - Will to join the Army, and her to get a proper education. Bet will take Will's place at school, and he will join the army. 

With very high expectations, Bet arrives at the Betterman Academy... and discovers just how horrid boys really are, that school masters don't really care if the smaller boys are being terrorized by the bigger ones, and that being 'odd' is a sure way to attract unwanted attention. 

The only thing Bet likes about Betterman Academy - other than the education she's receiving - is her roommate, James Tyler, who is tall and handsome, and has no qualms disrobing in front of "Will" and puts up with "Will's" strange requests for privacy. James is different than the other boys, he's kind and smart and, as said before, so handsome... to bad he honestly things Bet is a (very strange) boy.

Second Glance: I don't know what it was but I had such a wonderful time reading  The Education of Bet , it sure had many of the tropes I love in a story - like the girl impersonating a boy, which is one of my all time favorites.

I liked Bet and Will instantly, loved seeing the connection between them and how they both loved Paul Gardener, the man that had taken them in after Will's parents and Bet's mom died of typhoid fever when they were four; even if they did chafe a little at the restrictions and expectations he put of them both. 

I also loved James, he's exactly the kind of boy I would have totally gone for when I was 16, he's so sweet and takes everything in stride. I do wish there had been more of him, because other than the occasional show of temper, he really was just perfect and we known very little about him, really. 

This is also kind of historical-lite, because it's set 'sometime' in the 1800s, there is some 'war' going on and girls aren't really allowed into schools yet. I didn't mind this. I think that by being so vague about the historical fact, the story was easier to tell and get into it.

And really, this book put me in such a good mood. 

Bottom Line: The Education of Bet was just the type of book I go for, and the perfect book for the mood I found myself in. It's fun, and cute and just made me have a really good time. And I can see myself re-reading it in the future.

Favorite Quote: "I wonder if anything is ever what people dream that thing will be."
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Alex
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