While I was investigating young adult and young reader choices for California, I stumbled across Ana of California by Andi Teran (2015), which is meant to be a modern take on Anne of Green Gables, the much loved classic book by Lucy Maud Montgomery from 1908. While the original took place in Canada, Ana of […]

I really enjoyed Vikram Seth’s The Golden Gate (1986). I was, understandably, a bit apprehensive about the whole verse thing… The Golden Gate is written in Onegin sonnets (for those interested in rhyme scheme and history, eNotes has an interesting analysis of the sonnet style used, available to the browsing public), but the voice is […]

Robert Louis Stevenson, Jekyll & Hyde, Jack the Ripper, and modern day land management ranger Rafael Salazar; London, a health spa in the Swiss Alps, the Samoan Islands, and Topanga Canyon near Los Angeles. If this sounds like an episode of “One of these things is not like the other…” well, you might be right, […]

What a fantastic choice for my reading challenge! The Wild Birds by Emily Strelow really hit the spot for California… or Oregon… or maybe Jefferson… Although the book info and many reviews say it follows three storylines/timelines, I’d actually say it’s more like 2… or 4. There are two main stories, plus two which are¬†closely […]

Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson (2016) is the second in the Gold Seer series, which began with Walk On Earth a Stranger. The first book sees the heroine and her childhood friend travel from Georgia along the Oregon Trail to California gold country in 1849, and although it was quite good and historically […]

The Meaning of Names by Karen Gettert Shoemaker (2014) was a nice little book, with a well-done historical setting. Stuart, Nebraska is along the northern border of the state, a bit east of center. At the time of the story, in 1918, it’s a rural farming community and small town with a rail line connecting […]

You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children. — Madeleine L’Engle Clare Vanderpool has this quote on her website, and I’d have to agree–sometimes books for young readers are incredible in their depth, perception, and bravery […]

When most people think of Kansas, we tend to think, “flat.” And, after all, in Dorothy Must Die, author Danielle Paige called the Kansas town Flat Hill. I’ve already talked a bit about the Wizard of Oz movie and book (mis)perceptions of Kansas (including that Baum’s original descriptions were based on his unhappy experiences of […]

Letters Never Sent by Sandra Moran (2013) was a really good book; it was well-written and an engaging story. I very much enjoyed it, and I’m glad I read it. However, the setting wasn’t really that important to the story. I’m reading my way across the USA, with a focus on books that really help […]

The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard (2006) was a definite winner, at least in terms of learning about Kansas. While Becky Mandelbaum’s Bad Kansas left me full of bleakness, Nancy Pickard’s Kansas gave me some hope. Not that she was all rosy about the state–there were plenty of descriptions of that bleakness. He […]