If books were drinks and "The Hired Girl" were a cocktail, I would say it was the perfect blend of Anne, Little House, and The Chosen.
This book hit all the marks for me. It is so rare that I pick up a book, recently published and on the young adult shelves of my library, and find it to be old fashioned. And I mean old fashioned in a good way. I actually went back and double checked to make sure this wasn't published earlier than I originally thought, but indeed, 2015.
"The Hired Girl" traces the story of a fourteen year old girl growing up on a farm. You discover in the opening pages that her mother died years earlier and her father is a cold, hard man who we would today call emotionally abusive. The main character, Joan, is struggling to survive under his tyranny and is about to discover that that is simply impossible.
I don't like to give any spoilers, so I won't get into the plot, but it is safe to say that this is a coming of age story, and a well done one at that. I found myself remembering my first experience of loving a boy (the author handles those emotions SO well), the moments when my religion became my own (one of my favorite scenes in this novel revolves around that), and the struggle of having one of your feet in childhood and the other in adulthood. Schlitz used her grandmother's diary as reference for this book and it shows. It feels so real.
The book is well-researched and the pace is excellent. It doesn't rush at all, but there are no dull moments either. I had trouble putting it down the few times I was forced to.
Read this book if: You are tired of modern YA (think The Sun is Also a Star or The Fault in our Stars) and could use a visit back to the books that have sparked so many of our imaginations over the years (the previously mentioned Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, The Chosen); also great if you love historical fiction
Don't read this book if: You don't like period piece lit or are sensitive to parents passing away playing a part in the story line
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