Boston Jane by Jennifer L. Holm
The Skinny: Jane Peck is a girl who is a little rough around the edges, but when it’s pointed out to her by the meanest girl in town she immediately runs to Miss Hepplewhite’s Young Ladies Academy and enrolls. There she learns how to be a proper young lady and diligently practices what she’s learned, much to the dismay of her father. William, her father’s ex-apprentice who left to travel west to Oregon Country, writes to her for years and proposes. Jane ignores the reservations of her father and travels west to meet William. But when she arrives he is not there and she is left to fend for herself with the rough, wild pioneer men and the local Indian tribe.
BFF?: I have never disliked a book character as much as I disliked Jane. Maybe Miss Hepplewhite. I really had high hopes for Jane, that maybe she’d realize that being a lady wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, she’d find her true self out west, she’d grow up… and guess what? SHE DIDN’T! She was cool for like 10 pages (or minutes, whatever) and then remained annoying until the very last page.
Although, you know who I’d like to be BFFs with? EVERYONE OTHER CHARACTER IN THE BOOK! Although I couldn’t stand Jane, I loved several of the other characters so much.
Listen-ability: I’ve decided that I really don’t enjoy listening to women read books. Or if they’re going to read it, stop imitating men with stupid voices. Because they don’t sound manly. They’re weird and stupid. But, that aside, the lady reading Boston Jane really managed to capture Jane’s whineyness.
Crush Level: 4
William, Jane’s main love interest is, in a word, a douche. He’s materialistic, annoying, egotistical, shall I go on? So why give him a 3? Well, it’s not him I gave a 4, but instead Jehu (pronounced Jay-hue), a sailor Jane meets on her voyage to Oregon. He’s a little rough around the edges and at first I thought “meh, I don’t really care for rough sailors.” But then he became sweeter… and less rough… and a little dreamy…
Does anyone remember playing this as a kid? Gasp! Susan got cholera! And she died. My best friend and I used to play this ALL THE TIME! Granted, Jane cheated and took a boat to Oregon, but still. There was plenty of death on the high seas!
Commencement Speech: As much as I disliked Jane I actually enjoyed listening to this book. There were parts that were sad and plenty of parts that were funny. It was an interesting look at the frontier and how one must adapt to foreign territory. The writing, although read, was engaging and exciting. I really was excited to know what came next. Although I’m not all that familiar with the history of the area Jane traveled to I never felt confused or inundated with historical facts; at he heart of this story it was just that: a story. I feel like had I read this when I was younger, say 10-13, I would have devoured this book. I went through a historical fiction period at that age and this would have been right up Younger Candice’s alley!
Superlatives – Most Likely to Point Out Your Bad Manners