Thursday, August 5, 2010

Review: The Education of Bet

The Education of Bet
By Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Publication date: July 12, 2010


My review:

Elizabeth Smith grows up as a ward of the wealthy Paul Gardener along with his great nephew Will. Bet and Will are like brother and sister but when he is ten he is sent away to school while she must remain at home, sewing, helping with minor chores, and reading to the elderly Mr. Gardener. Bet however would like nothing more than to receive an education herself but Will does not care for education and he is kicked out of multiple boarding schools. When he tells Bet that he wants to join the military instead, she comes up with a crazy plan that will give them both what they want: he will go off to the military and she will go to his new school, disguised as Will. With Will's help, Bet thinks she is prepared for everything but what she doesn't anticipate is the reality of life at boarding school or her own unexpected attraction to her roommate, James.

The Education of Bet features a spirited heroine, romance, and plenty of humorous moments that had me laughing out loud. I admired Bet's desire to learn and her determination to succeed. The classes were demanding, she had to put up with bullying from some of the boys, and she had to hide her true identity but she didn't give up on her dream. Then she falls in love with James and suddenly the book is more about her feelings for him rather than her education. Thankfully the book does get back on course. I enjoyed the humor and watching Bet grow as she handled the challenges that came her way. I liked how she befriended one of the victims of the bullying , how she stood up to the bullies and tried to make a change at the school. I liked the character of James and thought he made a good romantic interest. I also really liked Will even though we only read about him briefly.

The plot may be somewhat predictable but it is a very enjoyable story anyway. It reminded me a lot of the film She's The Man, which like The Education of Bet was inspired by the Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night. Each chapter of the book begins with a quote from Shakespeare and the play is also mentioned as one which Bet studies at school. I do wish the story was longer so there would be more development of the characters and the pacing would be a little more even. Overall I thought this was a fun book with a great spunky heroine.

Readalikes: Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith, Sovay by Celia Rees, Pirates! by Celia Rees, Star-Crossed by Linda Collison, Wild Orchid: A Retelling of the Ballad of Mulan by Cameron Dokey, The Agency series by Y.S. Lee
I received this book for review as part of an ARC tour from Around the World Tours.

6 comments:

  1. Awww, I have to read this one!! Sounds great!

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  2. Sounds like a cute, fun read! I'm so in the mood for a book like this, right now. Great review - I must check this out!

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  3. Hey! I'm so glad you liked this one - I've been eyeballing it for awhile. The cover design sure is catchy! Thanks for such a great, in-depth review :D

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  4. Sometimes you need this light, fun, cute books. It sounds terrific. Thank you for sharing.

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  5. This sounds great! I loved She's the Man, and I'm pretty sure I will love this too. :)

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  6. When I first saw this book I thought it would be a interesting read. I have seen some reviews which were lukewarm, but I am glad you liked it. Makes me want to read it too. Thanks

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