Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Year Down Yonder” as Want to Read:
A Year Down Yonder
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Year Down Yonder (A Long Way from Chicago #2)

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  22,760 Ratings  ·  1,511 Reviews
A Newbery Medal Winner

Richard Peck's Newbery Medal-winning sequel to A Long Way from Chicago

Mary Alice's childhood summers in Grandma Dowdel's sleepy Illinois town were packed with enough drama to fill the double bill of any picture show. But now she is fifteen, and faces a whole long year with Grandma, a woman well known for shaking up her neighbors-and everyone else! All
Published (first published January 1st 2000)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Year Down Yonder, please sign up.

Recent Questions

This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 20, 2016 Annet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: coming-of-age, kids
Gorgeous kid's book for all ages. Grandma is really hilarious.
A laugh and a (happy) tear. A fun read. Makes you feel good.
I read A long way from Chicago, the first book, years ago and been meaning to read this one for a long time. And my, is it worthed.

Mary Alice's childhood summers in Grandma Dowdel's sleepy Illinois own had been packed with enough surprises and drama to fill the double bill of any picture show. But now she's fifteen, and with her parents facing hard times in Chic
Mary Alice’s father had lost his job so her parents moved to a small room only suitable for two, sending her brother Joey in one direction and Mary Alice in the other; she was to stay with Grandma Dowdel for a year. Mary Alice was fifteen and couldn’t imagine not seeing her friends, having a telephone or the internet or even television – starting a new school made her nervous! With her previous visits to her Grandma’s having been spent with Joey and only for a week, she had no idea how she would ...more
Nov 22, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible, funny, cozy
This was a laugh out loud short that I could have listened to for hours more. The small town, rural, characters are the very best!! All are so creative and quite different that I could not wait to see what they would do next. Grandma is someone I would love to know. This is a series I won't miss.
L11_Ryanne Szydlik
I did not want this book to end! It's one of those stories that you read it to just enjoy it, not just to see how it ends. This is a story about a young girl from Chicago who is sent to live with her Grandmother. Her grandmother's life style is very far removed from what Mary Alice has ever know because her grandmother is pure country. She is so country that even the townspeople are afraid of Grandma Dowdel. In Mary Alice's year stay with grandma she has many life experiences that will follow he ...more
The other John
I think this is a first. Never before have I read a sequel before reading the original novel. (At least as far as I can recall.) (The Discworld books don't count. They aren't organized in a proper order, are they? You can't call a book a sequel unless it's called a sequel on the cover.) (Well, I suppose I can make an exception if it has a number on the spine.) I usually hold out for the original, but in this case my daughter's curriculum assigned her to read this volume and, unlike my daughter, ...more
Emma Jane
Feb 05, 2016 Emma Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favorites
This is exactly the kind of book I love to lose myself in. No, I take that back; this is exactly the kind of book I find myself in. In these pages I took a jaunt back to another, simpler time, where the people fascinated and inspired me, and quickly became my friends. A Year Down Yonder is a book that made me snicker, took me to tears, and gave me a deep-down sense of home. I loved it from page one to the end, and everything in between.

Richard Peck may be the only male author I know of who can
Apr 06, 2012 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's funny because when I think about the Grandma Dowdel books, I tend to remember not being as impressed by Grandma as the rest of the world seems to be (the children's literature world, anyway.) But when I actually read the books, I am won over completely. I'm not sure why my memory works that way.

What I particularly liked about this book was that it was a lesson in show-don't-tell emotions. Grandma Dowdel is a gruff, rough, occasionally mean old woman. But she also has a caring heart, though
Duffy Pratt
Mar 26, 2013 Duffy Pratt rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
During the depression, a fifteen year old girl goes from Chicago to the countryside to stay with her grandmother for a year. The grandmother is the kind of person that other people would call a "character". The book relates some of her strategems and antics, and they tend to range from amusing to very funny.

My trouble with the book is that it has no story, and no drive. Rather, each chapter centers on some Holiday during the year. And with each Holiday, we get another droll incident about someth
Anne Slater
Oct 18, 2012 Anne Slater rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The cover shown above has none of the character of the Scholastic Press edition.... I stayed in bed to read this book this morning. You'd do well to do the same, or to sit down in front of a fire with a cup of tea and a couple of cookies...

A Year Down Yonder is a sequel to A Long Way from Chicago. Same cast of characters, different layout.
Mary Alice, Joey's younger sister, is the narrator. She is about 15. The recession following the Depression and preceding the war means that MA's parents have
Nancy Horrell
Apr 10, 2015 Nancy Horrell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In my opinion, this was one of the top two YA books that I have read in the past six months! Before reading it, I actually thought that historical fiction would be my least favorite genre! I love the figurative language that Richard Peck uses to describe south-central Illinois folk during the "Roosevelt recession" of 1937. Having lived in Decatur, IL through age eighteen, Richard Peck knows them so well! Grandma is a colorful, heart-warming character whom you come to love as much as Mary Alice d ...more
Jill Doyle
Apr 18, 2016 Jill Doyle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'A Year Down Yonder' is the sequel to 'A Long Way from Chicago'. I did not read the first book, but still could enjoy this book. It uses great imagery and characterization. From the first page I was interested in the story and the characters. This book is about a teen aged girl, Mary Alice. Her parents were struggling financially due to the recession of 1937. They had to send her to her Grandma in southern Illinois until they could get back on their feet. The grandma is not the hugging type. She ...more
Sep 02, 2012 Patti rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fortunately I had this sequel on the side table to pick up as soon as I finished A Long Way from Chicago.
The further hilarious adventures of Grandma Dowdel continue…and she is at her best!

Grandma’s quotes give you an idea of her blunt, but lovable personality:
Pg.17 – “Them Burdicks isn’t worth the powder and shot to blow them up. They’re like a pack of hound dogs. They’ll chase livestock, suck eggs, and lick the skillet. And steal? They’d steal a hot stove and come back for the smoke.”
Pg. 37 –
In this sequel to A Long Way from Chicago, Grandma Dowdel continues to make an impact on those within her sphere of influence. In this story, her granddaughter, Mary Alice, is sent to spend the school year in the country with Grandma due to the financial hard times in 1937. Mary Alice gains more from Grandma than she bargained for. When the year is up and her father has work again, she isn't so sure she wants to go back to Chicago.

After a tornado strikes the town, Grandma takes Mary Alice along
(NS) Brea M
Nov 01, 2009 (NS) Brea M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Year Down Yonder (Newbery Medal Winner) is Richard Peck’s sequel to A Long Way from Chicago (Newbery Honor Winner). In the original, Mary Alice and her brother Joe leave Chicago to visit their Grandma Dowdel in the farmlands of Illinois. A Year Down Yonder picks up two years later, when Mary Alice is forced to move to her grandmother’s home because the 1937 recession leaves her parents unable to take care of her. This time, Mary Alice is starting a new life in a small town without the company ...more
Connie  Kuntz
Sep 17, 2013 Connie Kuntz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The year is 1937 and the girl is Mary Alice. She is 15 years old and is a native Chicagoan. Due to financial problems, she has to take a train from Chicago (Dearborn Station) to a small southern Illinois town and live with her gun-toting, toothpick-gnawing, penny-pinching grandmother for a year and attend school there. She is naturally homesick, especially for her brother, but is still at an age where new adventures shape the entire meaning of her life.

Like most fifteen-year-olds, Mary Alice sti
Becca Hay
May 06, 2010 Becca Hay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adolescent-lit
Richard Peck really outdid himself with the book "A Year Down Yonder!" Did I like it? I Loved it, with a capitol "L." The fictional story is a sequel to Peck's Newbery award winning novel "A Long Way From Chicago" and picks up with the narrator, Mary Alice, going to live with her Grandma Dowdel's old fashioned hick town. The story begins with Alice seeing her grandma as an unfeeling old lady and through the tale we see her character develop in maturity and wisdom (gained from Grandma) until the ...more
Halley Todd
In 1937, during a new recession, Mary Alice Dowdel is sent to live with her Grandma in the country while her parents struggle to find work in Chicago. Mary Alice has always enjoyed visiting her formidable Grandma in the summer, but she worries about spending an entire year with her in the southern country area of Illinois. Why, at her Grandma’s house one has to go outside and use the privy. Throughout the novel, the reader is able to see how Mary Alice comes to understand and love her Grandma an ...more
Ashton Livsey
Genre: Contemporary Realism Junior Book
Summary: Mary Alice is teenager being sent to live in the country with her grandmother by her parents because of the recession taking place in Chicago. The book describes the crazy, interesting, fun times Mary Alice has living in a small town with her outspoken grandmother.
Critique: a) The book’s characters are what make this book amazing. They are complex and dynamic, and dominate the story.
The main character, Mary Alice is shown from the beginning as bei
Feb 26, 2012 L12_markmesserly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical-fic
This review pertains to the Kindle edition. Suggested for ages 10-14, Lexile rating 610L.

The year is 1937 and the U.S. economy is experiencing the withering effects of recession. Fifteen-year-old Mary Alice, of Chicago, faces the grim prospect of living in a rural Illinois town with her Grandma Dowdel. There are very few boys attending the school, as they are helping on family farms, and the girls are suspicious of the rich city girl. Mary Alice has only a portable radio to connect to civilizati
Feb 15, 2012 Cindi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While America is currently experiencing what government officials term an 'economic recession,' those around the country that are experiencing difficult financial times might call it something else. In 1929 when America's stock market crashed, people from New York to California experienced more than an economic recession. It was called The Great Depression and people all over the United States had to make tough choices regarding their way of life. John Steinbeck, a northern California author, wr ...more
A Year Down Yonder is an amuse-bouche, not an entrée. It describes the developing relationship between a fifteen-year-old girl, Mary Alice, and her grandmother. Mary Alice, the narrator, is sent to live with her grandmother in a rural Illinois town because her father lost his job in Chicago during the 1937-8 recession. Mary Alice also adjusts to country life and its challenges.

The novel is sweet but not saccharine, complete with an unmitigated happy ending (no "Death by Newberry Medal" here). AY
Oct 27, 2010 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 7+? would be a good read-aloud
Shelves: newbery-medal
This is a sequel but you'd never know it. I expected to be playing catch-up with the characters and story line--I'm a little gun shy after The High King. This stands alone from the first page though. I really relate to the characters in this book. They feel real to me, especially Grandma Dowdel. I have family members who talk just like her!

"How about some supper? My stomach's flapping against my backbone," she said. "If I don't eat, I get cranky."

"Cold?" she said. "It doesn't get cold anymore.
Dec 12, 2011 Vicki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The year is 1937 and those who survived the great depression are now in the middle of a huge recession. Mary Alice’s parents have lost their apartment and are renting out a room that is not big enough for their family. Their oldest son Joey heads west to plant trees for the Civilian Conservation Corps and Mary Alice is sent to live with her grandmother for the school year in a small country town. Everyone in town is afraid of Grandma Dowdel, who doesn’t take any guff from anyone; and who keeps h ...more
Cailin Currie
A Year Down Yonder is about a Rich Chicago girl's year-long stay with her grandmother, who lived in a rural town during the Great Depression. It was the the fifteen year old Chicago girl who was forced to live with her grandmother because she couldn't be afforded to stay at home with her parents. Mary Alice, the fifteen year old dreaded living there with her fears of the grandmother. She didn't think she would enjoy it from day one. Very quickly
Mary was forced into school, on the very first day,
Jul 22, 2014 D.C. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newberies
I have a feeling I might want to click on that fourth star by the end of this review. So, ahem… I immensely enjoyed the wacky yet totally realistic mini-stories in A Long Way From Chicago, so I looked forward to reading the 2001 Newbery winner. It did not disappoint. This time, we get the little sister as our narrator, and Grandma is just as spunky as always, and still makes the same kind of decisions as she did in the first. The last few chapters were drop-dead clever and funny as we see a prev ...more
Sep 10, 2009 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those rare books, a sequel which surpasses its predecessor. In this book, the granddaughter from A Long Way From Chicago goes to stay with her grandmother in rurual Illinois during the Depression for an entire year. We get to see Grandma in full conspiratorial mode, for not only does she have her own local people to take care of (and watch out for), but she also has to help her granddaughter navigate the local school year.

The book is understated and wonderful, full of delights an
Michael Kidd
Aug 21, 2016 Michael Kidd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I may have liked this better than the first installment of Peck's 'Dowdel Series', as I'm calling it. Grandma's connection to Mary-Alice is much more relatable than he's to Joey. I basically read this book in two major sittings. I read the first half, put it down for a week or so, picked it back up, and wondered why I would have ever put it down in the first place. These characters and their stories are beloved for me, and I hope for them to be for my children as well.
Oct 14, 2015 AmyNikita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-for-school
It ended too soon!! I felt it was too short :(
BUT it was very entertaining and fun, something I could just relax with. And I loved the strong message throughout: how Mary Alice comes to realise what her Grandma's really like, and how she really has good heart underneath all the craziness and naughtiness.
It was a fun read!
Jun 19, 2014 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book and it was so interesting to see the changes that Mary Alice experienced as she spent the year with her grandmother. Also I liked seeing more of the soft side of grandma at certain moments throughout the story. I wish that there would have been more detail about the reunion between Joey and Mary Alice when he surprised her at Christmas. Overall great story and great sequel!
L- Lisa
Mar 03, 2010 L- Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having the opportunity to hear Richard Peck speak a few weeks ago, I was excited to read one of his novels. A Year Down Under,sequel to Long Way from Chicago is delightful! While the setting creates a picture of life in a small midwestern town in the '30s, I felt like I must be reading a fairy tale at times. The character development of Grandma and her developing relationship with Mary Alice captures the essences of life on the farm and the strength and weakness in each of us. The Depression yea ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
a country year! 3 17 Jan 04, 2014 06:48PM  
APSU Children's L...: Reflection on Down Yonder 2 5 Apr 22, 2013 06:51AM  
APSU Children's L...: Grandma Dowdel is the real McCoy!!! 7 12 Apr 21, 2013 08:40PM  
  • Roller Skates
  • Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village
  • Shadow Of A Bull
  • Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women
  • A Visit to William Blake's Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers
  • Dobry
  • Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze
  • Missing May
  • Waterless Mountain
  • Gay Neck: The Story of a Pigeon
  • I, Juan de Pareja
  • The White Stag
  • The Dark Frigate
  • Rifles for Watie
  • Tales From Silver Lands
  • ...And Now Miguel
  • A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal, 1830-32
  • Up a Road Slowly
Richard Peck is an American novelist known for his prolific contributions to modern young adult literature. He was awarded the Newbery Medal in 2001 for his novel A Year Down Yonder.

Richard Peck was born in 1934 in Decatur, Illinois, a town he describes as quiet and safe. His mother, Virginia, was a dietitian and his father, Wayne, was a merchant who often rode his Harley Davidson to work.

More about Richard Peck...

Other Books in the Series

A Long Way from Chicago (3 books)
  • A Long Way from Chicago (A Long Way from Chicago, #1)
  • A Season of Gifts (A Long Way from Chicago, #3)

Share This Book

“Anyone who thinks small towns are friendlier than big cities lives in a big city.” 38 likes
“Grandma, how old is she?"
"Oh I don't know." Grandma said. "You'd have to cut off her head and count the rings in her neck.”
More quotes…