Betsy and Joe by Maud Hart Lovelace

Betsy and JoeInformation

Goodreads: Betsy and Joe
Series: Betsy-Tacy #8
Source: Library
Published: 1948


Betsy has made a lot of resolutions for the upcoming year, hoping to appeal to a boy like Joe Willard, who has supported himself through high school and still earned top marks.  But Betsy’s old friend Tony Markham is suddenly developing new feelings.  Will Betsy finally go with Joe, or will Tony triumph in the end?


Well, this is it!  The book I have been waiting for!  The one where Betsy finally comes into her own.  Yes, she still makes resolutions and fails to keep them.  And, yes, she is still kind of running around with other boys even though everyone knows all she really wants to do is go out with Joe Willard.  But finally, finally Betsy starts to take real stock of her situation, own up to her mistakes, and try to fix them.  At this rate, she might even win the Essay Contest.

Really, it is a treat to see all the characters start to come into their own.  Julia is pursuing her dream of becoming an opera singer, Joe is finally allowing himself to enter high school society, and Tacy is still quietly pursuing her own kind of life–the one that will allow men to enter the picture only when she’s good and ready, despite the pressure from her friends.  Not everything runs smoothly, though.  Julia gets homesick, Betsy and Joe sometimes fail to communicate, and Tony Markham arrives just in time to make a mess of things.  Betsy’s attempts to balance the two boys in her life without hurting either of them is really quite realistic, and shows how things can go wrong even when people have the best of intentions.  I was glad to see Betsy face troubles and have to admit that she was wrong even when she thought she was being kind.  It makes all the characters involved seem that much more human.

So now it’s Betsy and Joe is it?  Unfortunately, the path of love never did run smooth, so I expect we can see a lot of more painful misunderstandings in the books to come.  But it will be a journey worth taking with our Betsy, who has finally grown up.

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