Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Review: The Education of Bet - Lauren Baratz-Logsted

The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Genre: YA, historical fiction, romance
Published on July 28, 2010
Published by HMH Books
Pages: 192
Read From: 4.1.12 - 4.2.12

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 appear content with the life fate has bestowed upon them. 
But appearances can be deceiving. Bet can experience only what society allows for a girl. Will is afforded much more freedom, but still only as society dictates. Neither is happy. 
So Bet comes up with a plan and persuades Will to give it a try: She'll go to school as Will. Will can live as he chooses. 
But when she arrives at school, the reality doesn't match what Bet imagined. Boys are very different when they don't think there's a girl in their midst. In fact, they can be rather brutish. But brutish Bet can deal with. It's the stirrings of attraction for her roommate that get Bet into real trouble. 
This is not the education Bet expected.


Compared to this Author's other book, The Twin's Daughter, this was a much better read. The writing is pleasing and even beautiful in some of its phrasing and pros, and Bet is a likable strong heroine. She manages to be a believable young man, even when she slips in her act a bit. Will was an immediate favorite; he's quiet, serious, kind, and even endeavors to help Bet when he discovers her secret. The story doesn't have much of a plot, but it's along the lines of a casual read, for when one doesn't want to have to do much deep thinking.

So what didn't I like about this book? Well, just as in The Twin's Daughter, the Author seems to have a strange fixation on women's monthly cycles. Yes, this would be a problem faced by a young girl disguised as a boy. That doesn't mean that the Author needs to go into detail about how the blood color differs from, say, a nosebleed or cut, and the Author doesn't need to talk about the position of the stain on bedsheets and nightgown, or how linens must be washed. And the Author does not have to mention every time the heroine starts her monthly cycle again. I also got really tired of Bet talking about how she kind of liked to watch Will undress, I got tired of her reiterating that her breasts were bound (we understood the first time!), and I got tired of her musing about maybe Will preferred boys over girls. I also got tired of the kissing scenes, and reading about how Will and Bet had to keep resisting the temptation to sleep together. Does the Author want the Reader to start thinking that they have no morals? Because after the constant reiteration about how Bet had to force herself to stay in her separate bed, I began to think very little of her.

So, to restate, the writing style is good, Will is likable, and Bet is, too, for the most part, but content got pretty tiring, and I hope not all of her books are like that.

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