cover image Hattie Ever After

Hattie Ever After

Kirby Larson. Delacorte, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-385-73746-3

Hattie Inez Brooks, the determined 17-year-old heroine of Larson's Newbery Honor%E2%80%93winning Hattie Big Sky, returns in this follow-up set in 1919. Her homestead claim having failed, Hattie soldiers through her menial job in a boardinghouse until a traveling acting troupe offers her a job that thrusts her into city life in San Francisco, giving her the chance to pursue her real dream: becoming a reporter. Larson deftly balances first-person narration with charming letters and newspaper stories written by Hattie. The city presents a colorful cast of characters, including an attractive reporter and a duplicitous con artist who pretends to be her ally. Hattie's struggle to become a journalist%E2%80%94working first as a maid, graduating to researching, and beginning to write%E2%80%94forms the emotional heart of the story, though there's a moving romantic undercurrent, as well, as Hattie contemplates whether she should settle down with Charlie, her love interest back home. Fans of the first novel will gladly reconnect with this memorable heroine, but the narrative stands firmly on its own, too. Ages 10%E2%80%93up. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (Feb.)