by Kirby Larson

Reviewer Rating:
3

Review

I picked up Hattie Big Sky because I am not a huge fan of westerns and I thought I would try easing into the genre with a Young Adult novel. Hattie Big Sky could be called a more grown up version of Little House on the Prairie. Orphaned at a young age, Hattie Brooks has been shuttled between relatives as her usefulness comes and goes. When she turns 16 she gets a letter that her long-lost uncle has left her a homestead claim in Montana which, if she meets the requirements by the end of the year, will be hers to own. The book follows Hattie in her trials alone in Montana, the people she meets, the hardships they face, and the effect of fanatical nationalism during World War I. I found myself more interested in the historical aspects of the novel than the characters, and found the plot to be unbearably repetitive. I appreciated that the book did not have a fairy tale ending, and the strong themes of independence, friendship, and tolerance that helped Hattie survive on her homestead. I would recommend the book mainly for those looking for a bridge book between children’s westerns and adult westerns.

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