Maud Hart Lovelace was a pioneer of sorts. Her whimsical Besty-Tacy Books are classics. It was typical for young women at the turn of the century to organize mock weddings and dream of wedding trousseaus, but Betsy, Maud's counterpart, dreamed of being a writer. I just discovered this series, first published in the 1940's and 50's.
In Betsy in Spite of Herself, Betsy is in her sophomore year of high school, class of 1910. When she visits her friend Tib in Milwaukee for the Christmas holidays, she comes up with a plan to reinvent herself. She writes a list she calls, “Things I Must Do to Be Different.” One thing Betsy does is change her name from Betsy to Betsye with an 'e' to be dramatic and mysterious. She has her heart set on winning a certain young man and also on winning the school Essay Contest. I won’t tell you which one she wins, or loses for that matter!
Be prepared for a whirlwind pace. Betsy keeps us up-to-date on who is dating who, the latest fashions and the hairstyles, pompadours for girls and boys! Her house is the gathering place for the Deep Valley High crowd. It’s hard to keep track of all her friends! Maud Hart Lovelace based the characters and events in the Betsy-Tacy books on her own life growing up in Minnesota. She kept a daily diary throughout high school. At the back of this book, the fictional characters and their real-life counterparts are listed. Betsy of course, is Maud.
You can get two books, Betsy in Spite of Herself and Heaven to Betsy, in one volume in the Teen section of the Virginia Beach Public Library. If you like this series, try another book about a young woman with a dream to be a writer, set in the 1900’s, Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson, also in the Teen section.