Betsy and Joe Book reviews


Author(s): Maud Hart LovelaceDownload  


Made for Each Other? Betsy Ray has always thought that she and the fascinating Joe Willard would make the perfect couple. Now, in her senior year at Deep Valley High School, it looks as though she’ll get her wish. As soon as Joe returns from his summer job in North Dakota, he’s on the Rays’ porch with sweet words for Betsy. It’s going to be a wonderful senior year!Then Tony Markham, Betsy’s longtime chum, comes calling — and his intentions are definitely romantic. Betsy is torn. She really cares for Joe, but she doesn’t want to hurt Tony. Can she figure out a way to follow her heart without ruining her friendship?

Some Reviews: 147 in


Emily rated it      

I re-read all of the Betsy-Tacy books every summer, and this one is probably most people’s favorite. I think this is arguably the most exciting Betsy-Tacy book because (drum roll please Betsy-Tacy fans) Betsy and Joe finally start going together during their senior year of high school! However, everything doesn’t always go smoothly. There are obstacles in the way for Betsy and Joe to be a happy couple. One small problem is Joe’s job keeps him busy. But Joe is also very independent and has a Plan for his life, and he is not sure where Betsy fits in. Obviously this is not good news for a dating couple if your boyfriend can’t see a long-term future for you. Lastly, what Betsy probably feels is the biggest problem is actually her close friend Tony. Tony feels like a brother to all the Ray sisters. He used to like this setup until he started to develop feelings for Betsy. Betsy is too loyal to Tony to say no when he asks for a date. Matters are complicated even more by the fact that Tony hangs out with a reckless crowd if he’s not with his peers. I’m not going to give away the ending, but trust me, because even with all these obstacles, the ending is good!

This book is a perfect little romantic story on courting in the early 1900s. To me, this is one of the most romantic stories, and I think Betsy and Joe’s romance ranks up there with Laura and Almanzo’s. I was jumping up and down for several of the cutest moments between Betsy and Joe, and I know I’m not the only fan who acted that way! If you are a newcomer to the series, I urge you to take a chance and go out of your comfort level if you’re not a romance, historical fiction fan. This is a great book/series to start off with for these genres!


Anne rated it      

I guess it was a foregone conclusion that this one was going to be my favorite Betsy-Tacy book. It struck me while I was reading that Betsy and Joe are a lot like Anne and Gilbert from the Anne of Green Gables books, and this one is like Anne of the Island, I think, where they’re both going with other people and then finally come to their senses and realize that they belong together. There’s that wonderful academic rivalry throughout, with the essay competitions, and some truly lovely romantic mush. I’m glad, though that the Betsy series doesn’t go past Betsy’s Wedding, because when Anne and Gilbert got married in Anne’s House of Dreams, I lost interest and didn’t want to keep reading. And Betsy and Joe have got a lot of living to do, anyway!

Some other highlights–Tib bullying the star quarterback into winning the St. John’s football game, Betsy’s trip to see her father’s German customers, and above all, A MAN FOR TACY! I have been waiting for the other shoe to drop since Lovelace said that Tacy wasn’t really interested in boys. There was just going to be that one person who swept her off her feet. Good for her–high school boys are idiots (well, except Joe, and Tony, and Cab…and Gilbert Blythe).

I’m looking forward to seeing how Betsy acquits herself in the Big World!

Gayle Gordon

Gayle Gordon rated it     

Betsy finally gets Joe!
During her final year of high school, Betsy does a lot of soul-searching and feels nostalgia for what she’s about to leave behind. But the Great World awaits and Joe wants to share it with her.
Betsy comes about as close as she has ever gotten to being depressed in this book. She actually volunteers to go away for a while to the farm of some family friends to get her head together and relax, so that she can go back to school refreshed and with a new outlook. She suffers over her problems with two beaux and guilt over misleading Tony. Has she accidentally ruined his life? Major teenage angst!
I like the full-circle feel of the four high school books. In the beginning of Heaven to Betsy, she meets Joe Willard and instantly feels a connection, but falls into a major crush on Tony Markham. During the four years, she gradually gets over Tony, while still loving and worrying over him, but she cannot seem to make any headway with Joe. At the end of the final book, Betsy feels she was a failure in her relationships with both Tony and Joe. In a beautiful sense of Deja Vu, Betsy runs into Joe at Butternut Center, where she first met him. This time the magic happens. Lovely happy ending to the high school years.

Gloria Mccracken

Gloria Mccracken rated it     

These Betsy-Tacy books give such a rich picture of what it was like to grow up in small town Minnesota in the early years of the 20th century. They follow Betsy Ray (actually semi-autobiographically author Maud Hart) from her early days as a small child to, with this book, her high school graduation. There are two more books in the series which presumably continue with her emergence into adulthood. (A good bet, since the titles are “Betsy and the Great World” and “Betsy’s Wedding”).

This book, as befits Betsy’s greater maturity, is a bit less harum-scarum and more serious. I especially enjoyed reading the extra pages at the end of this edition which listed the real people vs. the fictional characters which were base upon them. They also gave some insight as to what had happened to the people in real life, especially appropriate because I presume that many of the minor characters will disappear from the books as they too moved on to other places and other friends.

Marcy Wynhoff

Marcy Wynhoff rated it      

One would think this would be “their” book, but it continues with the on and off again love story. They FINALLY “go” together but Betsy as usual can’t make up her mind and lets Tony interfere. Sound familiar? But in the end they have their first kiss and it makes me long for the innocent sweet days of my era.
“Then he kissed her. Betsy didn’t believe in letting boys kiss you. She thought it was silly to be letting first this boy and then that one kiss you when it didn’t mean a thing. But it was wonderful when Joe Willard Kissed her. And it did mean a thing.”
Remember Betsy was a graduating senior, 18 and had her first kiss.
That’s the advice I give all my second graders now. What’s the hurry?


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