Hattie Big Sky

Hattie Big Sky

Book - 2006
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Alone in the world, teen-aged Hattie is driven to prove up on her uncle's homesteading claim.
For years, sixteen-year-old Hattie's been shuttled between relatives. Tired of being Hattie Here-and-There, she courageously leaves Iowa to prove up on her late uncle's homestead claim near Vida, Montana. With a stubborn stick-to-itiveness, Hattie faces frost, drought and blizzards. Despite many hardships, Hattie forges ahead, sharing her adventures with her friends--especially Charlie, fighting in France--through letters and articles for her hometown paper.
Her backbreaking quest for a home is lightened by her neighbors, the Muellers. But she feels threatened by pressure to be a Loyal American, forbidding friendships with folks of German descent. Despite everything, Hattie's determined to stay until a tragedy causes her to discover the true meaning of home. From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York : Delacorte Press, c2006.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385903325
0385903324
9780385733137
0385733135
9780440239413
Branch Call Number: j F LARSON K
Characteristics: 289 pages ; 22 cm.

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a
AConsolver
Feb 21, 2019

4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy middle grade-low YA historical fiction.

Hattie is an orphan and receives a letter from a long-lost uncle that she will inherit his farm. She jumps at the opportunity and boards a train in Iowa, Montana bound. When she arrives, she quickly learns that she has just 10 months to settle up on her uncle's claim to the land by fencing it and farming a certain percentage of the land. With the help of her neighbors Karl, Perilee, and their kids, as well as Leafie and Rooster Jim, Hattie will find her place in Montana. As WWI rages overseas, tensions are high in the US. Many of the Germans living in Montana are being persecuted and discriminated against because of their country of origin. When Hattie makes it clear that this discrimination is wrong, and that she is willing to continue helping Karl and his family, she'll find herself on the bad side of the liberty council.

I always enjoy reading stories where the character has to work really hard to survive and achieve their dreams. Something about that struggle is really captivating to me, and even a slow story of that type is so fun to read. I really enjoyed Hattie's character. I cannot imagine being 16 and inheriting a farm half the country away. Also having to do any of that work on my own... wow. I also loved the relationship that she had with her neighbors, Karl and Perilee and the kids were so lovely, and I adored their friendship. It was also so pleasant to read about a simpler time where neighbors really helped one another, and every little bit of everything was used. It's so satisfying to me. It always saddens me to read a book where one group of people is being persecuted, only to acknowledge that it's not much different from the US we're experiencing right now. In this book the Germans living in the US are discriminated against, today, it is so many groups. It's really sad to see that some things haven't changed much in 100 years. BUT Hattie's character and all of their relationships are a good reminder that there are good people out there. There are so many sticking up for each other even when councils and governments are not. (This book also reminded me a little bit of the movie Sweet Land, which explores a similar theme of Germans within the US during WWI.) This book ended up being a bit sad and bittersweet too, I definitely cried for a while. Overall I enjoyed this book, and would be interested in reading the companion novel.

a
AnonymousLibrarian
Feb 08, 2019

This is an emotional story line set during WWI on the Montana prairie. This coming of age book depicts courage, determination, and sympathy as well as thinking things through instead of joining the masses in their views and actions.

r
Reads_A_Lot
Oct 22, 2018

Good YA historical fiction about a 16 yr old girl who inherits a Montana homesteading claim from her uncle. Her uncle had not completed the land requirements upon his death, so Hattie has 10 months to fulfill the requirements to keep the land. Surprisingly this takes place in 1918 and not the 1800’s and is loosely based on the author’s grandmother. I loved Hattie’s spirit and determination as she made friends and faced hardships. Well written - I felt like I was working the claim right along with her.

DBRL_KrisA Nov 26, 2016

In her "Author's Note", Larson says that she began writing this story during the Iraq War, and that she could see similarities between the World War I Era and that of the Iraq War. Patriotic fervor, distrust (or outright hatred) of foreigners, the "liberty cabbage" (sauerkraut) of 1918 and the "freedom fries" of 2003. And it was interesting to read the book in 2016, with some of the same themes prevailing.
Although I found it in our library's Young Adult section, the book reads at more of a junior high or middle school level to me. That's not to say it wasn't a good read; I enjoyed it, but the language and the themes seemed geared toward a younger audience.

s
szarnstorff
Jul 05, 2016

The struggles of trying to make it on the harsh prairie and how neighbors make it a home.

a
artemishi
Aug 07, 2013

For a YA, this was more moving and engaging than I was expecting. Larson did a great job of addressing the hardships of homesteaders during WWI, as well as the anti-German climate in the US at that time. Hattie as a character is inspiring and witty, and I found myself at times wondering if I would have had the ability to do that, and at times yelling at her for her inaction. However, I think Larson hit the nail on the head in terms of the expectations of how a 16 year old girl in 1918 would be brought up and expected to think. I stayed up very late to finish this and, I'll admit, wept a few times during it. I definitely recommend this for anyone who enjoys YA, coming-of-age, or historical fiction in the early 1900s.

m
miaone
Aug 12, 2012

An unforgettable story about a little-known part of American history and geography. The unspeakably harsh life on the Montana plains during the drought years of 1917 - 19 and the narrow-mindedness of supposedly patriotic Americans during WW I are topics we should all know about, but most of us don't. I have since read Deirdre McNamer's One Sweet Quarrel, about the same time period, and some of the story almost overlaps. But each author has her own story to tell.

Tam_Girl12 Mar 22, 2012

Good book, Not as adventures as I like but for some reason I really liked this book.

m
MARIKA TIESSEN
Mar 05, 2012

This is an awesome book!!

i
inthemeantimes
Nov 06, 2011

This book was So good! It must be one of my favorite historical novels. Absolutely awesome!

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gjrainey
Feb 12, 2018

gjrainey thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

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Miss_annie24
Nov 15, 2016

Miss_annie24 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

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Miss_annie24
Mar 25, 2016

Miss_annie24 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 15

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MissJen Feb 23, 2012

An orphan from the age of five, Hattie is tired of being passed from relative to relative, of being “Hattie Here-and-There” and belonging nowhere. When an estranged uncle leaves his Montana homestead to Hattie, she leaps at the chance for a home of her own even though she knows nothing of homesteading. With her cat, help from kindly neighbors, and lots of determination, Hattie sets out to conquer the land, the weather, and the harsh prairie lifestyle. Incidents both ridiculous and devastating illustrate the enormous odds that Hattie must overcome, but the Montana environment isn’t the only challenge Hattie is facing. World War I has begun and Hattie battles fear for her friend Charlie, who is overseas, and prejudice on the homefront. Many of the questions Hattie tries to answer, such as how to be a patriotic American, are questions we are still trying to answer today. Filled with humor, historical details, and thought-provoking moral dilemmas, Hattie Big Sky will appeal to fans of historical fiction, adventure, and coming-of-age stories.

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