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Betsy and Joe: A Betsy-Tacy High School Story (Betsy-Tacy #8)

4.29  ·  Rating Details ·  3,867 Ratings  ·  106 Reviews
Betsy always thought she and Joe Willard were made for each other—and now that summer's over and senior year's begun, it seems her dream is coming true! But her friend Tony Markham has come calling as well—and his intentions are definitely romantic.
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 21st 1948 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1948)
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Anne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryLittle Women by Louisa May AlcottAnne of Avonlea by L.M. MontgomeryAnne of the Island by L.M. MontgomeryDaddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster
Teen Girl Classics
16th out of 50 books — 26 voters
Destiny's Fire by Trisha WolfeThe Case of the Wayward Fae ~ A Chronicle of Mister Marmee by H.L.  StephensBetsy and Joe by Maud Hart LovelaceThe Case of Jack the Nipper by H.L.  StephensTheatre Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
YA Covers With [Vivid] Color
3rd out of 76 books — 13 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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“I’m going to start there,” answered Joe. “Say, you told me you thought Les Miserable was the greatest novel ever written. I think Vanity Fair is the greatest. Let’s fight.”

JOE WILLARD. Heart eyes forever.

The only thing dragging this down from a full 5-star rating is the Betsy/Tony/Joe business. It's not that I dislike Tony - I LOVE his interaction with Margaret for instance, and the fact that she has always had such a crush on him - but I loathe even the hint of any kind of love triangle, and
Aug 08, 2015 Melody rated it it was amazing
8/2015 stet

9/2012 There's so much depth in Lovelace's books, so much backstory that's more felt than expressed. It somehow puts me in mind of Tolkien that way. It's the feeling one gets whilst reading a book that is entirely grounded in one specific world, the history of which is fully known to the author and intuited by the reader. It makes for a roundness, a fullness that satisfies in ways the less well-built world fails to do.

It doesn't hurt that, in my copy of this, tucked into the page des
Carmen Maloy
Oct 22, 2007 Carmen Maloy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Finally, love for Betsy! We've waited patiently and now we are rewarded with some romance between Betsy and the irresistable Joe Willard. 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 Markha
Mar 31, 2014 Nathaniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, this is definitely not the usual book that I read, but my wife insisted that I read this book and to tell the truth I'm quite glad that I did. See, I had just finished reading The Magician King which had pretty seriously traumatized me, as far as book experiences go. (Read my review if you want more details on the nature of that trauma.)

After that: a delightfully upbeat and quaint story of high school romance and drama from the early 20th century was just what I needed to restore my faith in
I love this book! Of course, I knew I would as soon as I met Joe, and that one of the books in the series had his name in the title. For much of the book I still found myself (like many others IN the book) thinking "about time!" and "perfect!" I was thrilled when things were going well, and angry when they weren't. I liked that both were at fault for the good and the bad. Of course, Betsy's immaturity and self-centeredness often had her putting more in the balance than Joe. Still, as in every bo ...more
Lisa Vegan
I love that the girls eat!!! There is no anorexia, no eating disorders.

I think that this book covering Betsy’s senior year of high school is my favorite of the 4 high school Betsy-Tacy books, this despite the fact that I generally detest love triangles in novels. I especially loathe them when, as here, there is a lack of communication between the people involved. I know the mores and constraints of the time didn’t permit Betsy to do as I most would have liked, but I do feel communication could h
Mar 11, 2016 Susann rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-read, the-tomes
Love the significance of the two picnics on the Big Hill. Also, "I like your hair straight" is one of the most romantic lines in all of literature.

07-27-2012 review:
I love how, in the fall, when Betsy asks Joe about his family, she finds herself "facing the stone wall of his reticence." But when they meet at Butternut Center, it all comes pouring out of him.
"He looked at her suddenly. 'I never told that to anyone before.'"

Previously read: 1-28-05
(how is this possible? maybe I forgot to record
Jan 23, 2007 Maisie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So I read this book again yesterday, and it reminds me again of just how much I love this series. Lovelace manages to create a wonderful depiction of high school life in the early 1900s (much of it based on her own life), full of fun, friends, and adventure; you just wish you could have really been there to be a part of it.

ps -- I can't stand the newer covers - try and borrow an old copy from the library; they have the original Vera Neville illustrations...
Jul 10, 2015 Marklessgirl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book! I feel like Betsy really came back to herself in this one. And I love Betsy and Joe together especially now that I think that Betsy is not so childish and dumb. I have always loved Joe. And I have to say my favorite part was her at the farm!
Joe is a perfect beau :-) I adore Joe.
Nov 12, 2012 kris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jennifer Margulis
The year is 1910. The place is Deep Valley, Minnesota. The person in question is the irrepressible, vivacious, creative, energetic Betsy Warrington Ray. In this book she is a senior in high school, her beloved older sister Julia is traveling in Europe, and her serious younger sister is soberly promising she will never be too old for dolls.

Betsy is enjoying the activities and chaos of her senior year of high school.

But she has problems.

Boy problems.

I was sorry Betsy was not more upfront with bo
Mar 28, 2015 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Ok, I'm going to try—try—to pull myself together to get somewhat coherent thoughts down. I make no promises.

I was not expecting the angst that cropped up in the second half of this one. Which is a credit to Lovelace's narrative abilities. She sets the book up as we're used to: the frame work of Betsy's school year, the gatherings and holidays that mark each occasion; everything seems to be going well! And then the quarrel with Joe and how everything pans out with Tony and while the narrative st
Nov 20, 2010 Lawrence rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book very much. It is the last of the Betsy "High School" books because the action takes place in The Crowd's senior year. During the year, Betsy becomes much more mature and reaches the edge of adulthood.

Betsy's relationship with Joe comes out into the open finally, but it is still not entirely smooth. I like the way that, all through these books, Mrs. Lovelace has described their frustrations, puzzlement, etc. as the two unknowingly orbit around each other. Betsy takes Joe on a q
All of Shakespeare's heroines are essentially human. Somehow, it never fails to make me laugh. *g*

Lots of stuff going on in this one. I love Betsy and Joe. I'd forgotten how fantastic Joe is - he's right up there with Gilbert Blythe, in my mind. They are just so perfect together, and after four long years (for them *g*), it was wonderful seeing the start of their happy ending.

Tacy is quite interesting. I'd really love to see how other people read her and this storyline. The Harry romance is int
"You understand, I think, that I've always had a Plan for my life. In order to carry it out, I had to rule out girls, and I didn't mind. Even last fall, although I liked you a lot, I wouldn't let you come into Plan. But I've been doing a lot of thinking, Betsy. That Plan has been twisted about to let you in. You're in it, now, that's all. I wouldn't like it without you. I wouldn't give a darn for my old Plan if you couldn't be in it."

I want to have other things to say, but I really think I need
4.5 stars

BETSY RAY. Oh man, I love her but she was truly wearing her bad idea jeans in this book when it came to dealing with Tony. Which, I love him and choose to imagine a future where he and Margaret end up married some day. But this book definitely helped with what I was worried about with Betsy and Joe, which was that we weren't going to see enough of them together before they're together. I could have done without the misunderstanding with Tony, but I can live with it. Still, though. Joe W
Kaitlin Weiler
Apr 03, 2016 Kaitlin Weiler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
It's been 6 years since I read this so of course everything made me cry. Tony made me cry. As You Like It made me cry. Joe making fudge made me cry. It's fine.
Aug 31, 2016 Lauren rated it really liked it
But I’m not ready for Betsy to leave high school!

Betsy and Joe finds Betsy starting her senior year of high school – and a possible romance with rival / crush Joe. There’s a quasi-love triangle in the book, but I don’t think I’m giving much away when I say that the title kind of gives away the outcome.

This book lacks the preachy lessons of the previous book (yay!) but the overall plot is rather thin – this is mostly a series of enjoyable scenes that idealize life in a small town in 1910. Which i
Dec 02, 2014 Teri-k rated it really liked it
Reread of a favorite series from my younger days. :)
Liz Donatelli
Jun 01, 2014 Liz Donatelli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful love story between Betsy Ray and Joe Willard.
Christine Marie
Apr 13, 2012 Christine Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Classics, Children's, Fans of Little House on the Prairie, Fans of Anne of Green Gables
Recommended to Christine by: Heather Vogel Frederick
Oh, Betsy. I truly am worried about you. I did not like at all your behavior throughout this book so I think a more appropriate title would be Betsy and Tony . Oh Betsy! What went through your silly little frivolous head that seems to have been going crazy these past four years of high school.

Well, there's not really much to say besides that I hate how Betsy couldn't say no to Tony. Poor Joe! Betsy is just too much of a sucker for her Crowd! I was on edge and my heart was in knots the entire t
Mar 11, 2010 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 m ...more
Gloria Mccracken
Mar 19, 2016 Gloria Mccracken rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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, a
Megan [I'm okay, I'm alright]
Edit 10/18/15 I just realized how ridiculously sad and pathetic my old review for this is. Will definitely be writing an updated one when I finish re-reading this for the millionth time.

-- Old review --
This is the only one of the Betsy-Tacy books that I'll review, even though I've read all of them.

When I was a child, I loved the
books about Betsy and Tacy (and Tib) when they were children. However, I soon grew past those ones, and started reading the books where Betsy is older. And I really enj
Aug 11, 2015 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Emily by: my mom
Once again I re-read this book and had the same great sentiments! I love this book! Betsy and Joe finally start going together during their senior year at high school. However, it isn't too easy to start off with. There are things in the way of Betsy and Joe going together. One of the things is Joe's job that keeps him busy and another thing is his Plan for his life and what Betsy feels is the biggest problem is a person standing in the way. This book is a perfect little romantic story on court ...more
Rosie Preciado
It took me a while to find this one, but I finally read during my senior year two years ago. The title was promising-Betsy and Joe. Joe, not Tony. Not that I have a problem with Tony; he's cool and all, but we all know Betsy and Joe have always liked each other. They're just like Anne and Gilbert Blythe: they are meant for each other, but it takes a while for it to actually happen. Like the previous high school books, Betsy's world is centered around school, friends, boys, parties, the Essay con ...more
Marcy Wynhoff
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
Danielle Lentz
As always-I loved reading these books as a young girl and I love re-reading them. It's fun watching and seeing Betsy mature along with her friends Tacy and Tib. Ms. Lovelace is the type of author we still need today for young girls. She has a wonderfully descriptive. The reader really has a sense of the area around Deep Valley. She created a wonderful setting for young people making their way through high school and facing the same problems of young adults

today. I will be quickly moving on to t
Jan 30, 2011 Kerith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
I was desperately in need of a comfort read recently so I continued moving through Lovelace's Betsy stories. I particularly enjoy this one, portraying Betsy's (and loosely, Lovelace's) senior year in high school and her long-awaited romance with Joe Willard. Things don't always go as planned, of course, and when Betsy and Joe quarrel at Christmastime she is able to deal with her unhappiness in a manner worthy of her years (as she puts it). I also love how she retreats to the country during Easte ...more
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Maud Hart Lovelace was born on April 25, 1892, in Mankato, Minnesota. She was the middle of three children born to Thomas and Stella (Palmer) Hart. Her sister, Kathleen, was three years older, and her other sister, Helen, was six years younger. “That dear family" was the model for the fictional Ray family.

Maud’s birthplace was a small house on a hilly residential street several blocks above Mankat
More about Maud Hart Lovelace...

Other Books in the Series

Betsy-Tacy (10 books)
  • Betsy-Tacy (Betsy-Tacy, #1)
  • Betsy-Tacy and Tib (Betsy-Tacy, #2)
  • Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill (Betsy-Tacy, #3)
  • Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown (Betsy-Tacy, #4)
  • Heaven to Betsy (Betsy-Tacy, #5)
  • Betsy in Spite of Herself (Betsy-Tacy, #6)
  • Betsy Was a Junior (Betsy-Tacy, #7)
  • Betsy and the Great World (Betsy-Tacy, #9)
  • Betsy's Wedding (Betsy-Tacy, #10)

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“People were always saying to Margaret, 'Well, Julia sings and Betsy writes. Now what is little Margaret going to do?' Margaret would smile politely, for she was very polite, but privately she stormed to Betsy with flashing eyes, 'I'm not going to do anything. I want to just live. Can't people just live?” 49 likes
“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.” 40 likes
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