Fans of Across the Universe and The Mixed-Up Files of Basil E Frankweiler are encouraged to read the story of Bets and her mysterious friend “Miss E”. History, mystery, conspiracy and fun are woven together into this delicious tale that, I must admit, I consumed in one sitting! Elizabeth aka “Bets” is a teenage girl in 1967. She is a new girl, an army brat and a young adult about to embark on a series of changes in her life. When given an assignment to identify important figures of American history, Bets notices an incredible likeness between a defiant spunky aviatrix and her town’s very own Miss E. As Bets uncovers the truth about Miss E, she also begins to uncover the truth about her own place in history as Bets is introduced to the tensions surrounding the Vietnam War. Herberger encourages a message of social justice and free-thinking, but the book is heavily biased in favor of the anti-war stance without ever exploring the other viewpoints. This contradiction detracts from his advocacy of freedom, but nevertheless, remains a thought-provoking, spirited look at a time when dissension was greatly frowned upon. The story of Bets and Miss E is sure to inspire and intrigue readers of coming-of-age stories and historical fiction.
Reviewed by: Chiara Genovese, Zauel Library