Title: The Education of Bet
Author: Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin BFC
Pub. Date: 7.12.2010
Genre: Historical YA
Keywords: Identity Swap, Secrets, Gender Roles, Family, Romance
Description (from GoodReads):
Bet is sixteen, very intelligent, but only knows as much as her limited education will allow. In Victorian England, girls aren't allowed to go to school.
Will is also 16, and though not related by blood, he and Bet act like brother and sister. In fact, they even look like brother and sister. And though they're both raised under the same roof, by the same kind uncle, Will has one big advantage over Bet: He's a boy, and being a boy means he isn't stuck in the grand house they call home. He gets to go out into the world--to school.
But that's not what Will wishes. He wants to join the military and learn about real life, not what's written in books.
So one night, Bet comes up with a plan. She'll go to school as Will. Will can join the military. And though it seems impossible, they actually manage to pull it off.
But once Bet gets to the school, she begins to realize the education she's going to get isn't exactly the one she was expecting.
THE EDUCATION OF BET took me completely by surprise! Before this novel, I'd never read anything by Lauren Baratz-Logsted, but I was intrigued by the description.
I found the lengths Bet and Will go to in order to disguise Bet as a boy entertaining. I was skeptical that Baratz-Logsted would be able to make this aspect of the novel believable, but I actually found it very convincing. I especially loved that there were adults at the school aiding Bet in her quest for an education.
It was inspiring to see Bet fight so hard for something she wanted... something other than a boy. Don't get me wrong, I love a good romance, but it was refreshing to see the main character so passionate about something else. It definitely reminded me how lucky I am to have the opportunity to go to school... with all the stress, homework, and insane costs, it's easy to forget that.
But wait! There's romance too! Which, honestly, I should have anticipated, but I really hadn't. It was interesting an interesting and memorable romance, since, during the development of the romance, Bet is still disguised as Will. Understandably, this leads to some awkward moments, but Baratz-Logsted did a wonderful job making their story believable.
Review copy provided by publisher.