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OUR ONLY MAY AMELIA by Jennifer L. Holm


by Jennifer L. Holm

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: June 30th, 1999
ISBN: 0-06-027822-6
Publisher: HarperCollins

May Amelia, the feisty lovable heroine of Holm's fetching novel, "ain't no proper young lady." A 12-year-old girl with an adventurous spirit and "a nose for trouble," May Amelia is the youngest of eight children and the only girl. Life in the rough world of logging camps and farming in the wilderness of the state of Washington in 1899 is not easy, and May Amelia and her brothers have to work hard to keep farm and family going. May Amelia dreams of being a sailor and traveling to China, but is hampered by everyone, especially her strict Finnish-born father, who is always yelling at her for "doing what the boys are doing." The book chronicles May Amelia's adventures with her brothers, a brush with a wild bear, conflicts with her mean-tempered grandmother, and the long-awaited birth of a baby sister who later dies in her sleep. The story, which is episodic and somewhat shapeless, careens along before stopping without much resolution. Still, the robust characterizations captivate, the lilting dialogue twangs, and the sharply individual first-person narrative gives the material authority and polish. (Fiction. 10-12)