cover image Miss E.

Miss E.

Brian Herberger. Birch Cove, $12.99 paper (256p) ISBN 978-0-9974875-4-1

Fifteen-year-old “army kid” Bets and her parents move to Northern California in July 1967; her father will soon be deployed to Vietnam, and Bets is about to start high school. Bets’s new girlfriends tell her that no one knows much about Miss E., the quiet old woman who drives her red truck into the small town of Forestville once in a while. After her father leaves for the war, Bets and Miss E.’s paths intersect, and the two have a profound effect on each other. Meanwhile, the result of a history project assigned by a free-thinking teacher forces Bets to look at the world in new ways. First-time author Herberger creates an engaging story as he adroitly weaves history and mystery into a coming-of-age tale. Relationships, feminism, civil protest, and respect are among the themes highlighted, though they aren’t explored too deeply. Even so, readers are likely to draw connections between current events and the political climate depicted in the book, and they’ll enjoy the unexpected revelation regarding Miss E.’s identity early on. It’s a polished debut with an inspiring protagonist. Ages 12–up. (BookLife)