Continuing with my Betsy-Tacy books I quickly devoured Betsy and Joe. Betsy's senior year begins with great surprise and a not-so-new guy to go with and quickly snowballs into a series of events. It seems, as Betsy is growing older, that there are a few more bumps in the road that are more real life issues then petty ones which younger people seem to have.
Another death of someone Betsy knew, struggling to finish her classes just right, missing her sister Julia who is traveling overseas to become an opera singer, and the 'what comes after high school' decisions that not only Betsy has to make but so do all of her friends.
Again I am mesmerized by the utter accuracy of how it feels to be a senior in high school (the feelings are somewhat similar to being a senior in college). That sudden feeling that this is it, the last first day of school, the new year being the year you graduate. Knowing very well that your friends are all going to scatter in a matter of months and life as you know it is going to change dramatically.
Despite the different customs and beliefs the characters have, the language used and the clothing styles, if there is one thing that I learned from this book it's that teenagers and young adults in 1910 weren't much different in mind and spirit as the teenagers and young adults of this year-2010.
100 years ago the fictional character (based on the authors life) Betsy Ray graduated from High School and had the world at her feet. 100 years ago automobiles were just become popular and you still took a ship to go traveling abroad. 100 years ago you would 'go with' a boy and kissing was something quite advanced in a relationship. It's all so different, so much has changed in technology, and yet it's all the same.
Betsy over thinks too many things, she worries and daydreams. She likes boys, loves her family, and cares for her friends greatly. She wants to travel the world, wants to be a writer, wants to experience as much as life has to offer. 100 years sounds like a very long time but when you connect with a familiar character like Betsy it's very hard not to feel that those 100 years aren't quite so long. That 1910 isn't quite so far away.
I adored this book and was thrilled to finally have the adorable Joe step up and make his feelings known for Betsy. I was thrilled that the two of them were together at the end of the book and I'm eager to see what happens next. Two more books to go before the series is finished and I want to eat them up. Yet, I want to take my time, let the enjoyment and wonder of both books last if only for a little longer.