Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Private Thoughts of Amelia E. Rye” as Want to Read:
The Private Thoughts of Amelia E. Rye
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Private Thoughts of Amelia E. Rye

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  205 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
"All a person needs in life is one true friend."

So says Grandpa Thomas, the only member of Amelia's family who cares about her one bit. That true friend finally arrives when Fancy Nelson, the first Negro kid Amelia has ever seen in person, walks into her fourth grade classroom. As Fancy's special sort of magic rubs off on Amelia, she slowly comes to understand her trainwre
Hardcover, 234 pages
Published April 13th 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (first published 2010)
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 The Private Thoughts of Amelia E. Rye, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Private Thoughts of Amelia E. Rye

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 07, 2010 Kate rated it it was amazing
Just one true friend... That's all Amelia E. Rye's grandfather says she needs, and when Fancy Nelson comes to town, Amelia knows that it's true. Fancy is the first black person Amelia's ever seen, and she seems to have everything that Amelia lacks...courage and no-holds-barred confidence...and unconditional love from her family. With Fancy beside her, the world looks a little different to Amelia, a little brighter, and a little braver.

This is a fantastic, fantastic upper middle grade novel - gre
Sandra Stiles
Nov 25, 2010 Sandra Stiles rated it it was amazing
Amelia has had a hard life. It seems her mother didn't really want her. Her Grandpa Thomas loved her and took care of her. Amelia is a loner and the reason is because her mother dresses her in her older sisters old clothes. Everyone make fun of her, that is until Fancy comes to town. Fancy is the only colored girl in her class. She has learned how to stand up for herself and immediately sees inside of Amelia and becomes her friend. Amelia loves Fancy's life and would like luck to shine down on ...more
Jul 10, 2012 MockingBirdLeigh rated it it was amazing
Amelia's mother neglects her, makes her wear her older sisters clothes, and doesn't want anything to do with her. On the other hand amelia's grandfather loves her, and takes care of her. Amelia has a tough time at school because the other girls make fun of what she's wearing. Amelia was always shy, so she just ignored them. One day a new girl came to school. Fancy Nelson. She was a colored girl who was independent and tough. She wouldn't take any crud from anyone. Immediately Amelia loved her ...more
Paige Soule
Oct 04, 2011 Paige Soule rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer Wardrip
Apr 23, 2011 Jennifer Wardrip rated it it was amazing
Reviewed by Kira M for

In a small town in New York in the 1960's lives Amelia Earhart Rye. She has no friends, her mother's mean, her father is MIA, her brother is in jail, and her sister is in an insane asylum. Her only bright piece of hope is her grandfather.

Her grandfather tells her all the time that she only needs one true friend to make her life better. When Fancy Nelson moves into town, the first African-American that Amelia has ever seen, the two become friends and Amelia
IndyPL Kids Book Blog
Mar 06, 2012 IndyPL Kids Book Blog rated it liked it
Shelves: kid-life
Amelia lives in a shabby house with her crabby mom. She wears out-of-fashion hand-me-down clothes from a sister 30 years older than she is. Amelia daddy’s gone and her brother’s in prison but she’s got her old Grandpa Thomas, he’s on her side and has made it his job to look out for Amelia. He even picked out her name, Amelia Earhart Rye.

“Amelia Earhart was one o the most courageous women of all time. I knew that if you were to survive in this mean old world you’d have to be as brave as she was a
Nov 25, 2010 Vicki rated it really liked it
"All a person needs in life is one true friend." For everyone who ever suffered the slings and arrows of bullying and being an outsider during their childhood (that would be most of us), this book is a wonderful treat.

Amelia starts out life as an unwanted child, unloved by everyone but her grandfather. School is a torment as she's the scapegoat for everyone's childhood frustration, until the day that Fancy Nelson arrives in her classroom. Fancy is the first African American kid that Amelia has
Oct 10, 2011 Ellen rated it liked it
Amelia Earhart Rye is in the fifth grade and things aren't easy. For starters, her father ran off before she was born, her older brother is in jail, and her mother doesn't seem to like Amelia all that much (She makes Amelia wear her sister's old clothes that don't fit and refuses to fix Amelia's front tooth when it breaks.). And if that weren't bad enough, Amelia is a social outcast at school, sitting alone in the corner of the playground reading old books. But with a new girl at school, Amelia ...more
Jodi Papazian
Jan 26, 2012 Jodi Papazian rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-reads
I loved this story. Amelia was such a likeable character that it is impossible not to root for her throughout the story.
Always treated as an outcast at school and horribly mistreated by her miserable mother, Amelia seeks solace in her companionship with her grandfather. Having no friends, she is intrigued by Fancy, the new girl in her class. Fancy is the first black student to attend Amelia's school (in 1960's upstate New York). Amelia is fascinated to see the way that Fancy does not back down
Niki .
Oct 27, 2010 Niki . rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mock-newberry
THe Privaite thoughts of Amelia E. Rye was a truly amamzing story of a girl whos mother tried to kill her when she was in her stomach. What really stood out to me was that Amelia actuclly put up with her mother that hated her Amelia had 3 older sibilings a brother that went to jail (read to find out why) ,a sister named charlotte (her mothers golden golden child her mother cared for no other child went to a mental hospital)and a normal child who grew up had a kid and a job (but a horrid husband) ...more
The scene starts out with Amelia in fourth grade, an outcast with no friends and a harsh mother. Amelia gains a one true friend when Fancy moves to town, but loses her grandfather to a stroke. Over the course of the story, Amelia learns to stand up for herself and her friend, and she finds out who her family really is.

There aren't many historical details in this book. While it's set in the sixties in upstate New York, Amelia is a girl from anytime, and really, anywhere. Her private thoughts are
Apr 06, 2012 Jean rated it liked it
A book about a dysfunctial family (with a capital "D")living in a town populated with flawed characters. Shimko is a bit heavy-handed with the issues she touches on: bullying,alcoholism, emotional and physical abuse, fractured families, infidelity, racism, hollocaust survivors, mental illness, religious hypocricy, sibling rivalry, name a few. If you want to "find yourself" in a book you shouldn't have much difficulty here. Told in the first person, Amelia draws the reader into her ...more
Mar 05, 2012 Jill rated it it was ok
This was an OK title, but I didn't find it "couldn't put it down" good. I kept reading the book thinking I was going to get hooked, but that didn't happen. I enjoyed Amelia's perspectives on life and her friendship with Fancy, but I have read better historical fiction books than this one. The ending was a good one, but I can see teens giving up on this book way before making it to the closing pages.
Oct 15, 2010 Uflchildrens rated it really liked it
When she was a fetus, she was resented by her mother; when she was born, she was loved only by her aged grandpa; when she grew up, she was often treated by prejudiced and cruel people around her., but ever since she made her one and only friend in the fourth grade, her life changed; at the end, Amelia realized that she was actually loved by many people.
This is a touching and well developed story.
-- Shih-Mei

Jul 03, 2011 Cathy rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Amelia's voice was sweet, realistic, and interesting. The friendship she develops with Fancy Nelson is strong and believable. Poor Amelia has a difficult family life: a father who abandoned her mother while she was pregnant with her, a brother in jail, a sister in the asylum, and a mother who treats her unkindly. Her only kindness comes from her grandfather, a recovering alcoholic, who takes care of her, until she meets Fancy's family.
Widline Valentin
Apr 05, 2012 Widline Valentin rated it really liked it
Amelia is a girl who never seemed to be discourage although her mother didn't show her love. She found a best friend who was supportive. Her grand-pa was the one she talks to and laugh. Fortunately she realized that her mom loved her because before her mama died she signed a paper that says the house is for Amelia and her mom also saved her some money for college and she happily live with her reunited brother because he seemed to be the one who wanted a family.
Peep (Pop! Pop!)
I enjoyed reading this. I liked the friendship between Amelia and Fancy. Sweet and cute, though it was sad sometimes. Especially the way her mother interacted with her. I thought she deserved better, but I love the way she handled everything.

It's clean enough for younger tweens to read.

*Longer review to come soon* It's cheating, I know, I'm sorry! *and it likely means that I won't have a long review coming. I've been trying to think of something to say, but I just can't!”*
Mar 17, 2016 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Amelia lives in a small town during the 1960s. All she has is her Grandpa Thomas, the only person Amelia thinks actually loves her. Her father left before she was born, and Amelia thinks her mother is really mean. She has three older siblings, all of them far away with problems of their own. But one day, Amelia finds her one true friend, Fancy. After meeting Fancy, Amelia's life changes. She starts to discover more about her family and where she belongs.
Sep 22, 2010 Judy added it
So says Grandpa Thomas, the only member of Amelia’s family who cares about her one bit. That true friend finally arrives when Fancy Nelson, the first Negro kid Amelia has ever seen in person, walks into her fourth grade classroom. As Fancy’s special sort of magic rubs off on Amelia, she slowly FIC Shimko 334343
Bonnie Thrasher
Oct 06, 2015 Bonnie Thrasher rated it it was amazing
Loved it! This was recommended to me by one of my sixth graders. Am I ever glad I read it. There are many themes such as racism, infidelity, greed, repentance, many handled beautifully in this easy to read novel. Perfect for pre-teens, teens and even aging school teachers. Highly recommend.
Dec 08, 2010 Sylvia rated it liked it
Amelia, born in the 50s I presume, has a difficult relationship with her horrible mother which makes her life pretty miserable. Amelia is a bit too apt to wallow in self pity, and her complaining got on my nerves after a while. But then, this IS supposed to be a personal memoir after all. Well written otherwise, and a good story.
Pam Bohmfalk
Nov 29, 2011 Pam Bohmfalk rated it liked it
Shelves: yags2012
This was an OK title, but I didn't find it "couldn't put it down" good. The friendship between Amelia and Fancy is nicely portrayed but the whole scenario was far fetched and I don't think many teens today would have enough historical background to understand a lot of the tension, cultural references, etc.
Oct 05, 2010 Melissa rated it really liked it
This is the book that I was gifted when I won the Elementary level Literacy Teacher of the year award from the Portland Reading Council and it was truly a pleasure to read! Very full book and satisfyingly if quickly tied up at the end. Insights into difficult households and how love is still present.
Fancy Nelson jumped right off the page and immediately became one of my favorite characters in the whole world. I love you, Fancy, you sassy, beautiful girl.

PS This is totally children's fiction, not YA.
Erynn Stauder
Aug 19, 2010 Erynn Stauder rated it it was amazing
I loved this book!!!!! It's about a girl living in the 1950s. She thinks that her mother doesn't love her, but over 4 years of suffering she finally realizes some things about her daddy, mother, and siblings. I would recomend this book to girls 5th grade and up. I hope you read this book!!!!!
Stephanie Weeks
Dec 15, 2014 Stephanie Weeks rated it really liked it
A great middle school read! Didn't realize it was historical fiction but was very happy that it was! A really great story with constant character evolution. I'm not a teacher but I would totally have my kids read this book!
Jun 24, 2010 Kim rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
This is a great YA2 book. Unfortunately, the protagonist begins the book as a 4th grader. This may deter some middle schoolers. The author does move Amelia forward through grades quickly though if the reader will just hang in there a few chapters! :)
Aug 02, 2010 Kathie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Remids me of Richard Peck - humor and insights Amerlia is real and so are her mom, the dad she's never met, her sisters and her brother, her grandpa and her best friend Fancy BUT none of them are who or what they really seem Well done!
Linda Atkinson
Jun 04, 2010 Linda Atkinson rated it really liked it
Another 60s story! Well developed characters with exception of mom. That could have been deliberate. As Amelia matures, mom becomes more multilayered. Great ending. (suggested for 10-14y)
Jul 15, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it
I am an adult and I learned so much from this middle grade book. Beautifully written as a very sad story that turns into happily ever after
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Road to Tater Hill
  • The Wonder of Charlie Anne
  • Something to Hold
  • The Shadow Hunt
  • This Means War!
  • Dark Dude
  • The Marble Queen
  • The Last Best Days of Summer
  • Stolen Child
  • Is It Night or Day?
  • Kizzy Ann Stamps
  • Vintage Hughes
  • To Hell with Dying
  • Alt Ed
  • The Day of the Pelican
  • Alchemy and Meggy Swann
  • Vibes
  • Mare's War

Share This Book