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Much Ado About Grubstake

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  292 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Grubstake is a grubby down-on-its-luck mining town filled with grubby down-on-their-luck miners. So when a decidedly nongrubby city slicker shows up and offers to buy the tapped-out mines, the miners are sorely tempted. But not Arley, the brash sixteen-year-old girl who runs the boardinghouse. No, Arley smells a rat. What could some fancy-britches rascal want with empty mi ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published August 1st 2006 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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Nov 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I loved this! I got it from the book fair and I loved how it was about mining and jewels. It was also cool because their wasn't a sherriff in their town. I especially loved the ending. When Morgan was about to ask Arley to marry her and then her friends came in and interrupted them. ...more
Scout The Dog
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Why isn't there a second one? ...more
Madison Chabot
I loved this book, it was sweet, funny, and slightly mysterious. Ya, it was a very used idea, but with a twist all belonging to jean. I really liked the dogs, Orville and Wilbur, and Morgan. This book holds a place on my bookshelf and in my heart.
Ali Berke
Aug 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Arley Pickett is a 16-year-old, orphan girl who lives in a mining town called Grubstake. She runs a boarding house inherited from her family. Having lost her mother at birth, Arley lost her father at the age of 14 in a mining accident. Her father blew himself out in Never Mine. Being all alone at the age of 14, Arley has a boarding house and the mine named Never Mine left behind from her family. After his father's death, Arley cannot set foot in the mine, but she takes ca
AUTHOR. HUMOR. Much Ado About Grubstake by Jean Ferris is a typical, amazing, Ferris book. Humorous, romantic, fairy tale-esque. When a newcomer comes into a town of 62 people, everyone is curious. When said stranger wants to buy their mines that have held nothing for many years, some people start to get suspcious, especially becuase of the enormous amount of money the stranger is paying. So Arley, a young business owner starts investigating. And she may just end up saving her town from an evil ...more
Julie Lence
Mar 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: middle school girls
Shelves: westerns
I'm almost to the half-way point of this book. I saw it at the book fair at my son's school and bought it because I'm always on the look-out for anything western related that I might be able to use for research and terminology at a later date. While I orginally thought this was a 5th grade level book, (and children's books offer nore than you would think in the way of research and terms) I've come to the realization this book is more middle school age appropriate. While the plot isn't that diffi ...more
A charming book about a mining town named Grubstake, Colorado. I liked Arley Pickett and the mysterious black-clad stranger...and the dogs - Wilber, Orville, Muggs and Brute. However, I don't think there was much in the book to warrant it as Young Adult, unless it was tagged as such because Arley was the sixteen-year-old protagonist. But, I did like the book and could easily see myself reading Penny Dreadfuls by the handfuls until the next train brought in more...and letting my imagination get t ...more
Dec 31, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars, actually. Highly improbable, but sweet and fun story about a tiny mining town where everyone is down on their luck. The real treasure here, though, is the cast of lovable characters Ferris has created. The women are strong, fierce, kind, and noble. The men are endearing and entertaining. Great story with just enough grit for its intended young audience. And there are plenty of doughnuts.
Kiirsi Hellewell
Jul 14, 2010 rated it liked it
This book from an author I love started out okay, got good in the middle, then really fizzled out at the end. It felt so much like a 2-D book...full of flat characters, a boring plot, and too much stereotypical western melodrama. I did like the main character and her friends but things worked out so easily and unbelievably in the end that I didn't feel much like cheering for the "good guys." ...more
Jan 19, 2013 added it
Just like all of Jean Ferris' books, Much Ado About Grubstake was funny and memorable. The adventure had me on the edge of my seat, the characters made me need to hug something hard, and the book was read cover to cover... then turned over and read cover to cover again. ...more
May 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
As always, Jean Ferris is witty and fun. The western setting was quite enjoyable, and Arley is great- with her runaway imagination and love of penny dreadfuls... Though the basic plot may not be the most original, this is just a easy to read, harmless romance with western flair.
Apr 12, 2014 rated it liked it
The plot was great, but it didn't really feel like 1888. The historical aspect was not very well defined as if not for the fact that you know that it takes place during the Gold Rush, you couldn't tell when it was. ...more
Apr 21, 2016 rated it liked it
I read this because I thought it was a Western remake of "Much Ado About Nothing." It wasn't. Quite. It was more like a remake of the Penny Dreadfuls the heroine likes to read. Enjoyable, rollicking, mid-grade Western. ...more
May 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
i love jean ferris! each new book just confirms this.
Sonja Cole
May 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brooke Field
Jun 05, 2009 rated it liked it
i liked this one but i wouldn't read it again ...more
Nov 19, 2018 rated it liked it
this book was hard to understand. who calls a town "grubstake"? ...more
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
I'm pretty sure this was set in the old west, but for some reason it never really felt like it, so when old-west stuff popped up it was surprising and confusing as to why it was there. This book was ok. I liked Arley and Everdene and Morgan, but all the other characters either weren't very memorable or were just meh or irritating. The story was ok, not very memorable. I don't regret reading it, but I won't be reading it again. ...more
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My favorite book growing up! I've read it so many times that I've had to tape it back together, ...more
Amira D
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book. The author described the story really well. It felt like you were there too.
Melissa Dwyer
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
Originally rated A by Terri Squeglia
Arley is a sixteen year-old independent young woman who runs a dilapidated boarding house in the town of Grubstake, Colorado. She is also the owner of a mine, which her late father left her. This once booming mining town is now a ghost town of sixty-eight inhabitants. The mines have dried up and most of the miners have left the town. Enter Mr. Lockwood, a stranger dressed in black who rides into town on a black horse. This slick city character offers to pay bi
Tristan Smith
Dec 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book has a special place in my heart. I read this book when i was a bit younger. and loved it. But i decided to re-read it. This book is about a down on its luck mining town called Grubstake. The residents are mainly miners. But something is in their mines that they don't know about. A man in all black shows up named Morgan. The book follows Arley, A boarding house owner. She rents him a room and starts snooping around. With her dogs constantly ruining everything she does. She finds out tha ...more
Dec 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Synopsis: Our main character, a 16 year old girl who's been on her own as owner and manager of a boarding house for two years in a depressed mining town, is highly suspicious of the fast talking stranger who shows up offering to buy all her friends' mines. Then a second stranger appears - tall, dark, and handsome, seemingly right out of one of her "penny dreadfulls" - and makes everything more complicated still.

I read this in the middle of the night while up with my new daughter, so suffice to
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is probably one of the books I've read the most. It's adorable. It's hilarious. It's full of Ferris' typical quirky and wonderful characters. And it just really makes my heart happy. Ferris knows how to write a Wild West story.
The best part of all Ferris' books are really the memorable characters. An orphan girl with a love of books and a boarding house to run. Her journalism-obsessed crush. The dark and stupid villain with nefarious (and kind of ridiculous) deeds to accomplish. And the wel
Jun 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
After her father's death, Arley inherits at the Never Mine and boarding house in Grubstake. Practically a ghost town, with only a population of 62, most of the townsfolk packed up and left their empty mines in search of greener pastures. Then a stranger comes to town and wants to buy up everything to build a resort. Arley doesn't believe his intentions and starts to investigate for herself.

This mystery has humor, a little romance and since it is set in 1888 in Colorado it reads a bit like a wes
Nov 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
I am on page 32 chapter three. I just started this book and it good so far. Right now this stranger just came into town and he is going to hold a meeting so I'm excited to know what the meeting is about. I have finished the book and after a lot of snooping and hidding they find out who the stranger is and why he is here. The stranger is here to buy the mines. Some people have sold them to him. Arley has to try to figure out why he wants the mines and she needs to drive him out of town so he will ...more
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Arley is the 16 year old owner of a gold mine that she won't go into and a boarding house for the gold miners who don't have enough money to leave the town. The highlight of her life is the arrival of the monthly train so she can replenish her stock of penny dreadful books. When two strangers come to town and start stirring thing up, she feels that she is right in the middle of a story from one of her books. A fun book to read! ...more
Jun 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
It was so cute and cliche! One of the best old west romance/mystery books I've read!(But then again this is the only one I've read) I think the characters were pretty good in this, the plot was alright, but a bit predictable.
And take the saying "don't judge a book by its cover" literally, and totally ignore what's on the front!!
Jan 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was a fun read. Definitely for the middle school audience as the plot was not extremely involved, but it was fun with some interesting characters and some funny situations. I love books set in the old west and this was right there!
Thomas Swayne
Nov 02, 2011 rated it did not like it
Personaly i really disliked this book. I got to page 66 in three weeks because i never ever wanted to read it after the first chapter. Its probably a good book to some people but i guess i am not a person for realistc fiction.
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This author is not afraid to tackle difficult subjects: living with a deaf parent (Of Sound Mind), facing the consequences of a criminal act (Bad), or questioning one's sexuality (Eight Seconds). But Jean Ferris is also adept at writing comedy, historical fiction, and romance. What's most interesting is that she didn't publish her first novel until she was in her mid-40s. Yet she's never forgotten ...more

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Why not focus on some serious family drama? Not yours, of course, but a fictional family whose story you can follow through the generations of...
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