Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz

genre: young adult historical fiction

As fourteen year old Joan imagines her future on the farm in Pennsylvania in 1911, all she can see is more backbreaking work without acknowledgement or affection.  Intelligent and curious, she uses her diary as an outlet for her fears and ambitions as she decides that this sort of life isn't enough.  As a seed of hope sprouts, Joan takes her life into her own hands and she dares to go out into the world to become a Hired Girl.

Set mostly in Baltimore, Joan's experiences in the city force her to grow up quickly.  Aware of her own mind, Joan's thirst for knowledge leads to her own religious explorations while her desire to belong helps her to make a place for herself in a new household.

I really liked this diary-type novel.  It's funny and heartbreaking, as Joan navigates a world she knows nothing about.  I loved the religious interplay between the characters as well as Joan's first true romantic feelings, which felt dead on. The characters, the time and place, the plot - it all felt relevant and possible.  Fun read.

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