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THE TROUBLE WITH MAY AMELIA by Jennifer L. Holm

THE TROUBLE WITH MAY AMELIA

By Jennifer L. Holm (Author) , Adam Gustavson (Illustrator)

Age Range: 9 - 13

Pub Date: April 5th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4169-1373-3
Publisher: Atheneum

More than a decade after she introduced the title character in the Newbery Honor–winning Our Only May Amelia (1999), Holm delivers a sequel, set again in the wilderness of Washington State in 1900. As in the first book, the author draws upon and was inspired by the history of her own Finnish-immigrant ancestors’ experiences toughing it out in that area over a century ago. A year has passed since the first book; May Amelia is now 13. Times are hard, though family closeness, hard work and sheer grit hold the Jacksons together—along with Pappa’s iron will. Then the family loses everything when Pappa becomes the unwitting victim of a land swindle. May Amelia, having translated during negotiations because she is the best English speaker in the family, is accused by her father of not fully understanding and conveying the con artist’s smooth talk. All is not grimness, however. Holm incorporates warmth, humor, excitement and even a wedding into her story. Though the novel ends a little too neatly, albeit happily, Holm gets her heroine just right. Narrating events in dryly witty, plainspoken first-person, this indomitable teen draws readers in with her account, through which her world comes alive. Readers who enjoyed the first novel should embrace May Amelia again and may well believe that the only “trouble” with her is that the sequel didn’t happen sooner. (Historical fiction. 9-13)