Heaven To Betsy (Betsy-Tacy 5) by Maud Hart Lovelace

04 Oct

Heaven To Betsy In Spite of Herself

Earlier, I commented on the first four Betsy-Tacy books, the children’s books. Now, I’m moving on to the next book in the series.

Heaven To Betsy marks the transition of the series from books aimed at children to more of teen audience. Another two years have passed, and much has happened from age 12 to age 14. Betsy is starting High School, and has turned the corner from child to young woman.

Betsy is now crazy about boys and her worried about appearance, about being popular in general. Her family has moved into town, and she’s no longer across the street from Tacy. Tib has moved away (or “poofed”, as my daughter says). Betsy and her sister Julia are now good friends, as opposed to always bickering in the past books. There is a whole new cast of characters.

The change in the books is deeper than that. Betsy is starting to reflect on the person that she wants to be. She has trouble figuring out what is important, and in sticking to a plan once she makes it. In short, she’s a relatively normal 14 year old.

In Heaven To Betsy, Betsy explores the social scene at various churches in the area. Although her family is Baptise, she and her sister join the Episcopal church, and find that it resonates with them. They ask their parents’ permission to change churches.

Betsy sets aside her long-standing desire to become a writer, because none of her new friends are interested in such things. Later events cause her to look inside herself to see whether this is really what she wants.

As an adult, I found this book a highly enjoyable read.

My 11 year old daughter read it as well, and she liked it, but with more reservations.

She thought the gap between Betsy and Tacy go Downtown and Heaven To Betsy was too big, and that too much had changed. She was particularly annoyed that Tib had “poofed” without more explanation. She thought that all of the new characters made it almost like the first book of a new series.

tlc-logoI think she’ll enjoy the later books more in another year. Like Tacy, my daughter doesn’t (yet) understand all of the fuss over boys, and isn’t (yet) feeling the pull of changing herself to suit others. She’s not seeing much of it with her peers, either. She read Betsy in Spite of Herself on her own, but has since drifted off to other books. I’m not going to push it now, I’ll just remind her of them later.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to review these books!


Posted by on October 4, 2009 in books, reviews


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7 responses to “Heaven To Betsy (Betsy-Tacy 5) by Maud Hart Lovelace

  1. Yvonne

    October 4, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Great review! Sounds like a good read.

  2. Bookjourney

    October 4, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    I am hearing so much about these books! I need to find them! I believe they are set in Minnesota if I heard correctly.

  3. Maureen

    October 4, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    I’ve often pondered the merits of a series where the characters remain the same age and a series where the characters age. I think your daughters has hit the nail on the head for me. A series where the characters age, but at the same rate as the original readers, would be perfect.
    Maureen Hume.

  4. Jen Forbus

    October 5, 2009 at 4:59 am

    I discovered these books one summer years ago when I was involved in the summer reading program at my library. I read every one that summer and absolutely fell in love with them. I’m so happy to see their re-release. I felt like before the re-release I was the only person who had heard of them. Now I see so many more people who made the same discovery I did, and I’m excited for more young girls to discover them with the re-release! Just an excellent series for young people!

  5. Book Club Girl

    October 5, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    Great review! And yes BookJourney, the books are set in Minnesota. The Deep Valley in the books is really Maud Hart Lovelace’s hometown of Mankato, where you can go and visit and tour Betsy’s and Tacy’s homes! Tib’s house is still there too, though you can’t go inside. I went this summer to the Betsy-Tacy Convention and it was so neat to see so many places I’d read about! More details about the town can be found here:


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