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The Education of Bet by Lauren…
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The Education of Bet

by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

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Elizabeth is an intelligent young woman growing up within the constraints of Victorian society. To make matters worse, she is "the maid's daughter." After her mother and the owners of the house where she worked died, Bet is taken along with the heir, Will, to live with Will's uncle. Bet is treated as something between, neither family nor servant. She's allowed to read and study whatever she wants and develops a thirst for knowledge. When Will is kicked out of yet another school, Bet decides that they should each pursue what they want. She assumes Will's identity and heads off to school in his place while he runs off to join the military. But there's much more to becoming a boy than developing bad handwriting, and it's much harder to leave behind a girl's feelings than Bet had expected.

I don't have a whole lot to say about this. I am more than twice the age of the intended audience, hard as that is for me to believe, and so I didn't feel like I read anything new here. Younger audiences will probably feel differently. I couldn't help but compare this to [b:Alanna: The First Adventure|13831|Alanna The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, #1)|Tamora Pierce|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1255720760s/13831.jpg|1936544] by Tamora Pierce. The genres are different (historical fiction and fantasy), but the basic plot is very much the same. I think Alanna was more well-developed.

I liked Bet well enough. She was plucky and stood up for what she believed in, no matter how scared she was. She also pursued her dreams wholeheartedly, knowing that she would regret it if she didn't seize this one chance offered to her.

There's a "revelation" at the end that I saw coming from miles away. Again, though, I am a lot older than the intended audience.

The time line was a little jarring. A new chapter would flash forward pretty far, often in a letter, and then the events would go back to explain what I had just read. I don't mind stories that jump around like that as long as I can see a reason for it, and I couldn't find a reason for this. It just came across as jerky.

While I wasn't exactly thrilled with this book, I do think that younger girls will enjoy reading Bet's story. Even 150 to 200 years later, women and girls are still fighting against restraints, and every forward-thinking girl will probably find something to relate to in Bess. ( )
  JG_IntrovertedReader | Apr 3, 2013 |
This is a fairly simple book to get through and a little predictable but it is young adult and so I was expecting as much. Bet is an endearing character for her spirit and fierceness. I liked the idea but there could have been more there. It's really is a short book. If you're looking for a good Gender Bender look for the Alanna series by Tamora Peirce. Overall, however, as a individual story it was entertaining enough. ( )
  Kassilem | Jun 18, 2012 |
THE EDUCATION OF BET took me completely by surprise! Before this novel, I'd never read anything by Lauren Baratz-Logsted, but I was intrigued by the description.

I found the lengths Bet and Will go to in order to disguise Bet as a boy entertaining. I was skeptical that Baratz-Logsted would be able to make this aspect of the novel believable, but I actually found it very convincing. I especially loved that there were adults at the school aiding Bet in her quest for an education.

It was inspiring to see Bet fight so hard for something she wanted... something other than a boy. Don't get me wrong, I love a good romance, but it was refreshing to see the main character so passionate about something else. It definitely reminded me how lucky I am to have the opportunity to go to school... with all the stress, homework, and insane costs, it's easy to forget that.

But wait! There's romance too! Which, honestly, I should have anticipated, but I really hadn't. It was interesting an interesting and memorable romance, since, during the development of the romance, Bet is still disguised as Will. Understandably, this leads to some awkward moments, but Baratz-Logsted did a wonderful job making their story believable. ( )
  thehidingspot | Mar 31, 2012 |
Elizabeth could speak, write, and read as well as Will, but there is something that Will can do that she cannot: attend school. But Bet is determined and when Will confesses that he dreams to join the military rather than go back to school, Bet proposes that they switch places and in her case, genders.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted has a habit of underwhelming me with her books. The last book I read by Baratz-Logsted was Crazy Beautiful, stunning cover with a sinful synopsis, but it fell to impress. Now with The Education of Bet it has a pretty cover and an intriguing synopsis (I admit that I have several graphic novels with the similar synopses, but I cannot get enough) I was immediately excited. And I gave a half-hearted shrug once I finished.

In my past experience with first person narratives, I feel like they give the most extreme emotions. I felt like I can relate better to the main character yet with The Education of Bet there was distance between Bet and I. The pace of the novel is brisk and was written in mostly paragraphs detailing the adventure and what an adventure! An adventure, I felt, was over so quickly with not enough hoops to jump through and not enough trouble that makes a full-grin read.

A part of me still does not believe in the James and Bet relationship. It was so complete-180 for me that made me reluctant in the whole thing. Once I got over the quick turnabout I do so love their forbidden love as you will.

Quite frankly, however, The Education of Bet had nothing bad about it, least not a scene or subplot that made me tsk and shake my head over. It was just a lack of exuberance and energy that I thought I would read. There are two scenes that held great energy: the fencing and the climax, but those were two scenes out of many. ( )
1 vote ylin.0621 | Oct 19, 2010 |
Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.com

What a fun book! The EDUCATION OF BET took me totally by surprise. The storyline caught my interest, but it was the actual book that kept me turning the pages.

Elizabeth "Bet" was the daughter of the manor help. Will was the son of the lord of the manor. They were born into the same house, but never interacted. At least not until they were both orphaned and Will's uncle took them in.
.
Bet is stuck between two worlds - that of servant and that of almost family. Will is still privileged but tossing away his education. He's been kicked out of four schools and his uncle has given him one last chance. Bet would give anything for the educational opportunities that Will is just throwing away. Will, on the other hand, wants nothing more than to join the military. But being the only remaining heir, it would kill his uncle to allow Will to sign up.

It's with this knowledge that Bet hatches her crazy scheme. She convinces Will to let her take his place at his new school. If Will can help her walk and talk and act like a boy, she can assume his identity and he can join the military. The two come up with a workable plan, and everything starts off smoothly.

But there are things that Bet didn't account for upon arriving at school. Least of all is her attraction to her roommate, James.

From that point on, you can imagine the situation. It all gets far more complicated, and getting to the ending is half the fun. Don't let the fact that THE EDUCATION OF BET may be classified as "historical" in genre put you off. It may take place in the past, but the style is easy to read and applicable to any time period. This was so different from the other books I've read by Ms. Baratz-Logsted, but it was just as enjoyable, if not more so, than those others. ( )
  GeniusJen | Sep 29, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0547223080, Hardcover)

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 allowed—forced, in his case—to 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:43 -0400)

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Denied an education because of both her gender and background, sixteen-year-old Elizabeth cuts her hair and alters suits belonging to Will, her wealthy patron's grandnephew, to take his place at school while Will pursues a military career in nineteenth-century England.… (more)

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