Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday Giveaway #2: Hattie Big Sky

It is a rare book that engages middle grade, young adult, and adult readers. Hattie Big Sky, a 2007 Newbery Honor winner by Kirby Larson, is such a book. 

While I listened to it on CD, my 88-year-old mother enjoyed reading it. This blog will include both our reactions to this hard-to-put-down book.

Set in early-20th century Montana, the story focuses on 16-year-old Hattie who just inherited her uncle's 320-acre claim.  Since I listened with my writer's hat on, this is what I appreciated:
  • I loved how the book opened just as Hattie's life changes. The reader sees how Hattie has been orphaned and shifted from one relative to another. The inciting event happens quickly: the fateful letter declaring her inheritance arrives. 
  • Larson uses beautiful language to describe the Montana landscape as well as Hattie's tumultuous feelings. 
  • Hattie's external and internal goals are clearly portrayed. She has to clear 40 acres and set 480 posts in 10 months or lose the claim. Internally, she longs for a home-- for a place where she will no longer be "Hattie Here and There."
  • Each obstacle to Hattie's success produces tension in the story. A shifty single man who desires her and her land, hail, her own exhaustion, her uncle's unpaid bills--all of these work to have the reader rooting for Hattie.
  • Larson weaves in several interesting sub-plots: World War I, Hattie's growing affection for her hometown friend serving in the war, her love for reading and writing, and the anti-German sentiment in America.
While I admired Larson's wordsmith abilities, my mother was very happy "just" to love the story. She loved Hattie's courage and gutsiness and Mr. Whiskers (Hattie's cat.) "When I was reading it I could imagine I was in Montana. I could picture everything," she said. 

My mother immigrated to the United States in 1936 from Germany and never reads anything about WWII. I was wondering if the references to the Huns or the anti-German hatred which impacted Hattie would bother her. When I asked her she replied simply, "That was before my time."

Kirby is donating an autographed copy to one fortunate winner. Mothers, grandmothers, aunts, teachers...leave me a comment and you might win! Just make sure you read the book before you give it away (or give it with a promise that you'll get to read it too!)

Here are the giveaway rules: 

  • If you already follow this blog, please share this contest via social media then post a comment telling me what you did.
  • If you aren’t a follower, sign up, and then leave a comment.
  • If you have never entered one of my contests, PLEASE include your email address so I can contact you if you win. No contact information--you can't win!


Next blog up: Kirby shares the personal back story that led her to  writing this book. And you'll have the chance to win Hattie Big Sky on CD!


Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

I've read this already but I just might read it again. And if I win, I might give it away. Or not. That's a tough call.

Lynn Lovegreen said...

I've already read it, but just wanted to say I loved this book.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Joyce and Lynn for stopping by. I can see we have a few Hattie lovers among us!

Rosi said...

This is a book I've never read. I have heard about it for years, but it never made it into my TBR stack. I would love to win. You now have a new follower. My email address is rosihollinbeck (at) yahoo (dot) com. Thanks for running this giveaway.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Rosi. You followed ALL of my rules and I appreciate that!! YOur name is in the proverbial hat!!

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Carol, Thanks for writing such a great review of this book. It sound absolutely great! Neat that your Mother likes it, too.

I tweeted about your giveaway and I also posted about it on Facebook.

Celebrate you and your Mother.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, JOan. You're in!

Linda Vigen Phillips said...

I take it on good faith, yours and your mother's recommendations. Not only that, I love to read a good story about how someone handles an inheritance! That's not always an easy task.