Two years ago, I read the elementary school editions of the early Betsy-Tacy books for the first time ever. How did I miss out on this series? Either way, I’m glad to be reading them now. I was a huge Anne of Green Gables fan as a child and teen, and this series, set in Minnesota, contains many similarly charming elements.
Betsy Ray is a beloved citizen of Deep Valley, and she has ruled the elementary coop with her best friend, Tacy Kelly. Yet life changes when she enters high school. Suddenly, school isn’t always so easy. Not all the teachers love her because she is Betsy Ray, straight-A student. And even then, those straight-As aren’t pouring forth. Betsy’s social life is aflame with socials and lots of boys, but she can’t help but be drawn to the friendly, smart, and enigmatic Joe Willard, who challenges her intellectually and rebuffs her social circle. Overall, it’s a year that is filled with personal growth and self-reflection.
There were so many moments that felt like they could have belonged to my life. Not the social circle and boys part—I did not attract a lot of male attention as a freshman in high school—but the struggling with school and learning about myself part. Betsy is not perfect, which makes her a lot more relatable. She is occasionally selfish and a bit spoiled, but she’s still loveable and makes me want to read more about her. I’ll definitely be continuing the series, and I’m looking forward to reading the next books. Also, I’m most definitely Team Joe.