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Girl In Blue

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,906 Ratings  ·  182 Reviews
As an adolescent, Sarah Louisa Wheelock vowed never to let a man control her. With this unshakable conviction, she abandoned her life on a Michigan farm and disguised herself as a boy so she could fight in the Civil War. Ann Rinaldis well-researched and superbly wrought narrative illuminates the courage and audacity of this colorful historical figure. ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 1st 2001 by Scholastic Press (first published 2001)
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Feb 09, 2009 MayDerp rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any reader that enjoys historical fiction and civil war history
Recommended to MayDerp by: Myself
The official summary is:

Ever since she read "Fanny Campbell, the Female Pirate Captain" Sarah Louisa Wheelock has vowed that she will never allow a man to control her life. When her father promises her hand in marriage to their despicable neighbor Ezekiel Kunkle, Sarah knows that she has no other choice but to leave home. She cleverly disguises herself as a man and joins the Union Greys, a regiment that becomes part of the 2nd Michigan infantry during the Civil War. Sarah, known to the other sol
Feb 17, 2009 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite character was Sarah Louisa. Sarah was my favorite character because she is such a strong and sociable person who is very brave and courageous. My least favorite character was Rose Greenhow. She was my least favorite because of the way she acts around Sheldon, who is one of the lieutenants watching what happens and what comes in and what goes out of Mrs. Greenhow’s house. I believe the author wrote this book to capture the reader’s mind and take them back to the year of 1861, and to l ...more
Feb 28, 2010 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Sarah Louisa Wheelock grew up on a run-down Michigan farm with a domineering, abusive father, a timid mother unwilling to protect herself and her children, a crippled older brother, and two sisters, Clarice, who found her escape in marriage, and flirtatious Betsy, who could do no wrong in their father's eyes. At sixteen, Sarah longs for freedom even as the country is engulfed by the beginnings of the Civil War. Her father would have her married to their repulsive neighbor Ezekiel Kunkle, a man t ...more
Mar 12, 2009 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
When I was in middle/high school, I used to gobble up Ann Rinaldi books like a starving person. Her specialty was historical fiction that fed both into my love of American history and my desire for romance and adventure. That her novels all featured strong, independent young women as their protagonists was, of course, always a plus. Although I never read this one, I really enjoyed it. The complexities of the American Civil War have always fascinated me, and this story of a young girl who runs aw ...more
Shekinah A.
Jul 26, 2015 Shekinah A. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finished it a while ago at camp. Really good considering it was for school. Ending was not satisfactory but I don't think I'll continue the trilogy because I have other TBR's I'm more interested in.
Feb 05, 2014 Sydney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first it took awhile to get into this book. I think it had to do with the fact that it was in third person, and I am so used to Ann Rinaldi's books being in first person. Once I got used to the third person point of view the book got better. I'd say the book began to pick up once Sarah joined the army. From then on it was very exciting.

This book had me flipping pages. What I love about historical fiction is you get to learn about history as you read. And when you get so absorbed into the sto
Girl in Blue by Ann Rinaldi is a novel, because it is longer than a story, but shorter than a novella. Girl in Blue is about a young girl named Sarah who is forced to marry her "evil" next door neighbor, even though he is a lot older than her. Sarah doesn't want to marry him, because she is so young, and he is very harsh and cruel to her. To escape her miserable life, Sarah disguises herself as a man, and joins the union army. Many events that occur in the book really change Sarah's life,and who ...more
Aug 17, 2010 Gayle rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
This was an interesting historical fiction story about a girl at the beginning of the Civil War. She initially pretends to be a boy and enlists in the Union army, then in the second part of the story she works undercover in the house of Rose Greenhow, a famous Confederate spy under house arrest in Washington. I enjoyed learning more details about this period of history.
Sarah Crawford
Feb 02, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sarah is around 16. Her father is extremely nasty, almost vicious, and she decides to disguise herself as a young boy, run off and join the Union army. She pulls that off quite well, and she ends up getting to take part in a battle where she learns the true horrors of war.

She ends up, though, working with Pinkerton and becomes a spy, put on a job to keep her eye on a woman who Pinkerton suspects is sending messages to the South. Just how she's doing this, though, he hasn't been able to figure o
Miri Kennedy
Feb 24, 2015 Miri Kennedy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-lit-1-12
This is Mulan meets Civil War. That should be enough to get anyone to want to read this book. The Civil War era is one of my favorites, and I absolutely love the way the author transports the reader to this time period effortlessly. The main character is someone I really enjoyed reading about-- I kept rooting for her throughout the book. And when she meets historical figures (including the famous detective, Allan Pinkerton), I feel an even deeper, more exciting connection with the time period an ...more
Jul 27, 2014 Rose rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The thing is, I read this book shortly after I read the book Behind Rebel Lines, which is the story of Emma Edmonds,the real girl this was "inspired" by. The truth was more exciting and interesting than the fiction, in this case.

This seems to be one of Ann Rinaldi's more popular books, but I think it's overrated. I had read and loved Taking Liberty and The Fifth of March, and was disappointed with this one. It's been a while since I read it, and I don't really recall the characters and situatio
Aug 16, 2012 Grace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Story!
Jennifer Lott
Feb 04, 2015 Jennifer Lott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A spirited and compelling adventure. I am the type to enjoy period fiction for character over historical accuracy, and Sarah had my undivided attention from the moment I understood her opening vigil was to scare off her unwanted betrothed. Her journey was unpredictable, taking new turns sooner than I expected. Her ups and downs were not romanticized to the point of making them feel superimposed on history: they felt true to the path a determined 1860s woman could choose. I found the author's not ...more
Plainsboro Public Library
Jul 13, 2014 Plainsboro Public Library rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews-for-ya
This enticing novel takes place in the time period of the Civil War. During this time period, girls were not allowed to fight in the military and would be severely punished by the country for doing so. Sarah, a girl from around that time period, strongly wants to take part in the war against the Confederacy despite the fact that she is a girl. This is because she finds out that she will be marrying her abhorred neighbor that her father finds suitable for her. She disguises herself as a soldier w ...more
Josiane Claremont
This book is written in Ann Rinaldi's usual style; epic summary, strong and resourceful protagonist, conspiracy, tragic romance, and of course, WEAK PLOT.

Let's talk about the positive:

Epic Summary: If not for the recommendations from some friends as well as this amazing summary, I would not have picked up this book. It's hard to describe how long I've been waiting to read another book that deals with secrecy and love; books like these nowadays are not an easy find.

Strong and Resourceful Protago
Meera K.
To escape the bonds of holy matrimony, Sarah Louisa Wheelock runs off to join the Yankees (not the baseball team) to help sew back America and end slavery.
Buut.. she isn't the luckiest.
After her fellow Yankees find out she's a woman, they sit around to decide her punishment: jail, eternal humiliation.. the usual. But the local doctor remembers her skill as an actress at one of the soldier relax nights, and recommends her to Alan Pinkerton, head of the Union's Secret Services, as a spy.
After basi
Grey Grimly
Sarah Wheelock wants to escape an jerkoff Father, and a distant Mother. Not to mention the over confident, frustrating Ezekiel Kunkle whom her Father intends to wed her to. So what does she do? She runs away and joins the army and soon becomes part of something much more.


I had to read this book for a school book group. I must say, it's not my favourite book. I feel like more action should have b
When 15-year-old Sarah learns that her mother intends to marry her off to a 35-year-old abusive neighbor, she shoots his hat off and runs away. Disguising herself as a boy, she joins the Union army and maintains her deception for three months. She participates in battles, learns the horrors of war, and works in hospitals. When unmasked, Sarah joins Pinkerton’s spy network in Washington, D.C., keeping watch on the notorious Rebel sympathizer, Rose Greenhow.

This book only partially fits the cross
Not my favorite Rinaldi book, but still a good and interesting one, especially since Sarah is a Michigander. It seemed unlikely to me that she was able to hide her identity as a woman for so long (three months) while soldiering, but to learn at the end of the book that there were numerous women who did so was really amazing. It was nice to see Sarah's adventures both as a soldier and as a spy; I'd always been interested in women spies during the Civil War, and Rose Greenhow was an impressively i ...more
Rebecca Radnor
Civil war, northern girl passes as union soldier for 4 months, then joins Pinkerton's detective agency as a spy: A farm girl from an abusive Michigan home, runs-away to join the Union army as a way to avoid being forced into marriage with a disgusting neighbor. She manages to trick the recruiters, and goes through drill camp. Because she is good at writing and organized, she is assigned to help the camp doctor until they are sent out to battle. At this point, the book is very good as she fights ...more
Aug 09, 2012 Heidi rated it really liked it
Sixteen year old Sarah has lived at the mercies of an abusive and overbearing father her entire life, but she refuses to be handed off like property to a neighbor twice her age just so that he can help out on the farm and she can raise his three motherless children. She’s determined to get away, and to serve her country as she knows she has the skill to do–as a soldier. Sarah is an accomplished marksman, she’s brave, and she has no interest or intentions towards men other than serving beside the ...more
Wayne S.
It is 1861 and Sarah Louisa Wheelock, age fifteen, lives on a farm near Casey’s Mill, MI, with her father, mother, sister Betsy, and brother Ben. Her older sister Clarice is married. She has learned to hunt and ride better than any boy. Their abusive father, who beats both Sarah and her mother, plans to wed Sarah to their odious neighbor, Ezekiel Kunkle, who is a widower with two children. So she runs away, dresses as a boy named Neddie Compton, and joins the Union Army. As Neddy Sarah is sent t ...more
Feb 19, 2010 Camilla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story was calm, yet exciting and jumpy at times. I loved the way Ann Rinaldi showed Sarah's (the girl in blue) personal feelings and the hardships that she had to go through.

Sarah runs off to join the army dressed as a man in the Civil War. She leaves her home to avoid marrying a horrible 35-year-old man named Ezekiel Kunkle. Sarah doesn't want to leave her mother and brother (her father beats her and her sisters don't care for her) but to save herself and her friends and family, she leaves
 Tara ♪
I loved Sarah; who wouldn't? And I just loved the whole plot! For the whole beginning of the book, I was thinking, just let her get discovered and start to spy, PLEASE?!?! The cover flap did a good job of keeping my interest! Also, I liked Little Rose, even though she was a bit of a brat, maybe, and I do think that she knew about her mother's activities, I felt so sorry for her and she really could be so sweet. Way to go, Ms. Rinaldi! You made me feel sorry for the daughter of a southern spy who ...more
Dec 02, 2007 Bonnie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Civil War and empowered women stories
Sarah grew up with a mean and controlling father, but when he tells her she is going to marry their elderly and violent neighbor, she knows she needs to leave. Even though she is 16 and female, she lies about her age, cuts her hair short, renames herself Neddy, and joins the North to fight in the Civil War.

After fighting in the battle of Bull Run, she is discovered as a female. She worries she is going to be sent home, but instead, her commanders think that she is a good actress, so they send h
Saowbia (Marvelous Eden of Books)
I put this book on my tbr awhile ago and I kind of forgot what it was about. I did not expect an awesome character like Sarah. In ways, she reminded me of Katniss because she hunted to put food on the table for her family and she wouldn't let a man control her life. It always seems like I'm reading books where the main character disguises herself up as a boy. This so much fun to read and I found fascinating that during the Civil War they're was a spy agency with both male and female spies.
Sep 18, 2011 Danielle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up in the Gettysburg bookstore. A very appropriate read after two days being imersed in the history of the Battle of Gettysburg. Sadly this book didn't take place during the Battle of Gettysburg so I couldn't feel like a Civil War expert while reading. Anyways that didn't affect how I felt about the book. This is my first Ann Rinaldi book and I have heard good thing about her books so I am happy to find that is true. At first I thought the book was just about Sarah running away to ...more
Jan 13, 2016 Goldie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teenage girls who seek adventure and romance
Recommended to Goldie by: Mrs. Johnson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 09, 2015 Bonnie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was very interesting Historical fiction book. It takes place during the civil war, right around the time Sarah is supposed to marry a neighbor guy. I thought this was a really good book and could be also put as a mystery. It kept me wanting to read, because I didn't know what was going to happen. Also the characters were very interesting and you didn't know who was good or bad.
May 23, 2014 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I hadn't realized that women fought in the Civil War disguised as men or that the Pinkerton Detective Agency was active helping the Union during that time. Sarah's experiences during this time weren't sugar-coated in the novel. Rinaldi gives Sarah several inner conflicts that she is resolving throughout the book. Several of those inner conflicts intertwine.
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Ann Rinaldi (b. August 27, 1934, in New York City) is a young adult fiction author. She is best known for her historical fiction, including In My Father's House, The Last Silk Dress, An Acquaintance with Darkness, A Break with Charity, and Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons. She has written a total of forty novels, eight of which were listed as notable by the ALA. In 2000, Wolf by the Ears was lis ...more
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