First Hattie's father and mother die, and then she loses her adored little brother. So she is shipped off to an exclusive boarding school with her cousin, Sophie. Sophie has wealth, beauty, friends, and most of all, confidence--things Hattie has never had. Hattie is terrified. What if the other girls don't accept her? What if fickle Sophie turns on her?
Then like a whirlwind, Fannie Macintosh shows up at Miss Bulkey's Seminary for Young Ladies. She's from the Wild West and does everything wrong--she wears the wrong clothes, sys the wrong things, and laughs at he wrong jokes. But there's something about Fannie that Hattie likes--something genuine and fresh. Maybe even something admirable.
Based on the journal kept by Sally Warner's great-grandmother, Finding Hattie is a warm and moving story about a lonely, intelligent girl who loses her way and finds it again.
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Sally Warner is a writer and artist with many middle-grade novels to her credit, including Sort of Forever and Accidental Lily, both published by Knopf. She enjoys gardening, swimming, and spending time with her three cats, her 18-pound rabbit, her dachshund puppy, and her two sons. She lives in Altadena, California, and spends several months each year in a little town in the Adirondacks of upstate New York, not unlike Quinney's Lake Geneva.From Publishers Weekly:
Warner demonstrates that she is equally at ease in the past as the present (How to Be a Real Person [In Just One Day], reviewed above) as she plumbs her great-grandmother's diary to create this winning historical novel set in the early 1880s. After the deaths of her great-aunt and beloved brother, 14-year-old Hattie goes to live with her patrician aunt and uncle and her kind yet headstrong cousin, Sophie, in New York City. Warner balances descriptions of the pleasures of elegant clothes and a full stomach with passages about Hattie's loneliness, grief and anxiety about not embarrassing her exacting relatives. Every dinner in her uncle's home is fraught with peril: "It was all delicious, but erect in her chair and feeling like a scarecrow that had unexpectedly been plunked down in a ballroom, Hattie cringed, awaiting each night's humiliation." Warner's depiction of the unfolding friendship between the girl cousins proves particularly strong ("Sophie had rushed from activity to activity trailing Hattie behind her like an awkward kite"). Hattie follows Sophie to Miss Bulkley's Seminary for Young Ladies, where Sophie's friends accept Hattie into their "Quartette" and stand firm against bully Minnie Bonesteel who exposes Hattie's "charity case" status. Warner seamlessly details Hattie's domestic and academic life while keeping her heroine's observations historically accurate. Despite her friendships, Hattie often feels isolated--until she discovers a kindred spirit in Fannie Macintosh whom the other girls shun because Fannie hails from flashy new money (Fannie's retort: "Money can't have an age. It's the same no matter how you make it or how long you've had it"). Even with its period setting, this atmospheric tale portrays the timeless teenage struggle to find one's own way. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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