Reviewer: Connie Payne
Title: Little Blog on the Prairie
Author: Cathleen Davitt Bell
ISBN-13: 978-1- 59990-286-9
Release Date: May 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: YA Fiction
Publisherís Age/Grade Recommendation: 12 and Up
OUARís Age/Grade Recommendation: 12 - 15
Year/Setting: Present day, Wyoming Ė Camp Frontier
Overall Rating: 4.5
Sexual Content Rating: None (one kiss)
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None
Violent Content Rating: None
Cathleen's Website/Blog: www.cathleendavittbell.com
Why couldnít Genís family have gone to Club Med like they have in the past? Room service, pools, shopping. Why did her mother insist on Camp Frontier? They are so mistaken if they think she is going to enjoy living like it was 1890!
Geesh! Who would actually enjoy not having a real toilet or shower? What teen wants to be without their iPod or MP3 player? Her mom wants their family to dress, live, and work a portion of the campís land, just like they did a hundred and twenty years ago. Bleh! No way! Whatís wrong with her?
If thatís not bad enough thereís Nora, the daughter of the owners of Camp Frontier. Her animosity toward Gen is unmistakable. Hey, what did she do to Nora? Umm, then thereís Caleb; heís at the camp with his family. Heís soooo cute, but Gen seems to be kind of clumsy and tongue-tied around him. Besides itís pretty clear to Gen that heís got eyes for Nora.
Secretly she manages to vent and groan to her friends, tell them the details of daily life on the "frontier", tell them about Nora (grrr) and Caleb (sigh). A girl has to find a way to keep her sanity, doesnít she?
Her friends turn her vents and poetic waxings (Caleb) into a blog, which becomes wildly popular in the outside world.
But things donít go quite as smoothly as all of that. Secrets are revealed. Repercussions may just ricochet all around. Genís family may get kicked out of camp, and after learning how to take care of themselves, plant corn, churn butter, and spend time with the small community of new friends, well, Genís not so sure she wants to leave now. Unfortunately things get so chaotic that the camp is in jeopardy of shutting down. But Gen isnít going to take all the blame, thereís enough to pass aroundÖShockingly, more secrets are revealed.
Honestly, Little Blog on the Prairie wasnít anything like I thought it would be. I expected a sweet read regaled with tidbits of trivia from frontier life. Well let me tell you, Genís story was better than any of my preconceived expectations! Yes, it had those tidbits, but it was also layered with teen angst and drama (teen equals drama). Nora (think Nellie from Little House) was a thorn in her side, so there was the animosity to deal with. There was the usual shyness and self-consciousness that comes with a thirteen-year old girl liking a boy, but with it came a slow but sure growth in Genís self-confidence.
Ms. Bell has tapped into emotions some of us have forgotten about, but definitely needed to be reminded of. Without a doubt, this was an entertaining, delightful, and most interesting story.
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