The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
When Will and Bet were four, tragic circumstances brought them to the same house, to be raised by a wealthy gentleman as brother and sister. Now sixteen, they’ve both enjoyed a privileged upbringing thus far. But not all is well in their household. Because she’s a girl, Bet’s world is contained within the walls of their grand home, her education limited to the rudiments of reading, writing, arithmetic, and sewing. Will’s world is much larger. He is allowedforced, in his caseto go to school. Neither is happy.
So Bet comes up with a plan and persuades Will to give it a try: They’ll switch places. She’ll go to school as Will. Will can live as he chooses. But once Bet gets to school, she soon realizes living as a boy is going to be much more difficult than she imagined.
What I Thought:
I love books where girls disguise themselves as boys, but this book was a bit too superficial to live up to the awesome premise. Bet wants an education and will do anything to get it, which is awesome, but overall this book left me feeling a bit…meh. Part of this feeling was from the ambiguous setting, which is apparently England somethime in the 1800s. I liked the concept and the characters, but overall I felt that this book was just a bit too light. At less than 200 pages, there wasn’t a lot of time for the story to develop. Everything seems to happen very quickly, more like a children’s/middle-grade book than a YA novel.
There were some great details about Bet disguising herself, though. I love that she actually had to deal with getting her period, something that often gets left out of these type of stories. I would recommend this book to younger readers in their early teens who love a a fun novel with gender-bending hijinx. I have a feeling I would have loved this book when I was about 13-years-old!