Hattie Big Sky, by Kirby Larson // a review full of love for one of my all time favorite books

Well would you look at that! It’s only the third of the month, and I’m already here with a review. And it’s a special review for me, one which I’m very excited about. I am excited for this review because it is of one of my all time favorite books. It is a historical fiction middle grade novel about a 16 year old girl named Hattie Inez Brooks, who goes to prove up on her uncle’s 360 Montana acres. My fabulous readers, I present to you my review of Hattie Big Sky, by Kirby Larson!

Hattie Big Sky

Author: Kirby Larson

Release Date: September 26, 2006

Genre: Historical fiction, middle grade

Sequel: Hattie Ever After, by Kirby Larson


After inheriting her uncle’s homesteading claim in Montana, 16-year-old orphan Hattie Brooks travels from Iowa in 1917 to make a home for herself and encounters some unexpected problems related to the war being fought in Europe.

If you’ve read my blog before, you may have picked up that I love historical fiction. So much. You may have also picked up that I adore books about homesteading, and pioneering and farming.

But the fact that this book covers some of my favorite genres isn’t the only reason why I’ve fallen in love with this plot. Not only does Kirby Larson writes about homesteading, striking out on your own and friendships made that will last through anything, but she also writes about the anti-german sentiment that floated through the United States during the first world war, the sacrifices that ‘patriotic Americans’ were expected to make.

I have read Hattie Big Sky countless times, with the physical book and the audiobook, and the story never ceases to amaze me. I won’t go through this book without laughing, and I won’t go through this book without crying. The plot twists and turns like a winding maze, and brings Hattie through adventure after adventure. The plot of this book is incredible.

When I read this book, I can see Hattie’s home, I can see Leafy tending to Elmer Junior’s arm, while Mattie runs through the grasses with Fern toddling behind her. I can picture Chase mesmerized by Hattie’s books, then standing atop the threshing machine with Karl. If I close my eyes, I picture see Rooster Jim carrying Hattie’s mail, and I can imagine Traft Martin approaching atop Trouble, his horse. I can hear Mr. Ebgard telling Hattie about that $37.75 needed to pay for her ‘free’ Montana land. Overall that, I feel Perilee’s comforting presence, no matter that she’s a fictional character. I see Hattie writing for hours, and see her determination to succeed and to do her best work.

The writing pulls me in, the writing makes me feel as if I were there with Hattie, and the writing makes it so I can picture the rolling prairie, so I can picture Vida, Montana perfectly. The writing is absolutely incredible.

First off, Hattie strong. And brave. And determined. Oh yeah, did I also mention that Hattie loves reading a lot? And that she also loves writing so very much. She’s also left handed. So basically, Hattie Inez Brooks is my 20th century, homesteading twin. Who knew? But really, Hattie is one of my favorite bookish characters ever.

And she is definitely not the only amazing character in this book. Even the mean characters are written so well, and described, and given a background.

Perilee is the kindest, most loving, character just about ever. She is also so strong and brave!

Leafie is kind, and smart, and will help any neighbor in need. She will always lend a hand, and is basically the doctor for them too.

Rooster Jim has such a strong personality, and is so hilarious! He is also so kind and welcoming to Hattie.

Mattie, Chase, and Fern. Oh Mattie. Their little Magpie. She is a little chatterbox, and is written that way! She always has Mulie with her, and will make you laugh and cry. Chase is so smart, but also so stubborn! Although he is only eight, he helps Hattie out immensely when she is just getting started on her claim, giving her tips, and helping her with Violet and Plug.

Oh, and there is no way that I’m leaving Violet, the worlds most stubborn cow, and Plug, the best most amazing horse you’ll ever read about out of this review. Seriously. I just couldn’t.

Traft Martin. And that county council of defense. You see, I do not want to give anything away, so I shall not continue to write about them because I would immediately supply much to many spoilers (as in more than 0). So, I’m moving on now.

Kirby Larson is the acclaimed author of the 2007 Newbery Honor Book, Hattie Big Sky, a young adult historical novel she wrote inspired by her great-grandmother, Hattie Inez Brooks Wright, who homesteaded by herself in eastern Montana as a young woman. That book, and encouragement from her mentor, Karen Cushman, gave Kirby the confidence to embrace her passion for historical fiction; she has since written the Dogs of World War II series (Scholastic), which include DukeDash (recipient of the Scott O’Dell Historical Fiction Prize), Liberty and Code Word Courage. Kirby melded her passion for history and mystery in Audacity Jones to the Rescue, and Audacity Jones Steals the Show (nominated for a 2018 Edgar Award).

Website | Goodreads

Well, you see… This. Is. An. Amazing. Book. And I’m not joking. As I said above, I love everything about this book, and I think that all of it; the plot, the writing, the characters, is amazing.

My rating: ★★★★★

Recommendable: Definitely

To who? To those who’d enjoy a middle grade historical fiction novel. And also to everyone on this planet, you need to go read this book it is amazing. Really. It is so so so so so amazing.

Have you read Hattie Big Sky? What did you think of this review? Did it convince you to go read the book right now? Chat with me in the comments below!