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The Hired Girl

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  11,580 ratings  ·  2,041 reviews
Today Miss Chandler gave me this beautiful book. I vow that I will never forget her kindness to me, and I will use this book as she told me to—that I will write in it with truth and refinement…But who could be refined living at Steeple Farm?

Fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs, just like the heroines in her beloved novels, yearns for real life and true love. But what hope is the
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published September 8th 2015 by Candlewick Press
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Cassandra I'm pretty sure it's based on the diary of the author's great-grandmother or something. So if there's more base material she might, I suppose? But all…moreI'm pretty sure it's based on the diary of the author's great-grandmother or something. So if there's more base material she might, I suppose? But all the ends get tied up mostly so it isn't in desperate need of a sequel.(less)
Keely no srry ! Goodreads helps you find your next book but you can't read your next book on it…moreno srry ! Goodreads helps you find your next book but you can't read your next book on it(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  11,580 ratings  ·  2,041 reviews

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Emily May
Sep 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Emily May by: Tatiana
If I had books, if I could scrape together an education, I'd have a future, whether any man ever asked me to marry him or not.

Maybe you've seen this book lurking around with its high ratings and positive reviews. Maybe you've even noticed that it got critical acclaim, a Kirkus star, and that the author is a Newbery Medal winner. And then maybe, like me, you glanced over it quickly, took in the story about a girl trying to get hired in 1911, and quickly went off to find some fast-paced fantas
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
"Today Miss Chandler gave me this beautiful book. I vow that I will never forget her kindness to me, and I will use this book as she told me to – I will write in it with truth and refinement."

What a charming coming-of-age story! It is written as a series of diary entries by a precocious, fourteen-year-old girl named Joan. Life was never easy for the Skraggs family, earning their meager living on a farm in Pennsylvania. But for Joan, there is no end in sight to the tedious, back-breaking work aft
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

I think fans of Anne Shirley will really like this novel.

14-year old Joan is such a charming, optimistic, lovable narrator. All she wants is to learn and explore the world. When her father forbids her to even go to school and burns her books, she has no choice but to run away and find a place for herself elsewhere. Joan lands as a hired girl in a Jewish home where she soon becomes a meddling, overinvolved, but well-loved family member.

Among other things, I liked a lot how religions are
Bildungsroman. Definition: “A novel dealing with one person's formative years or spiritual education.” A certain strain of English major quivers at the very term. Get enough Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man shoved down your gullet and you’d be quivering too. I don’t run across such books very often since I specialize primarily in books for children between the ages of 0-12. For them, the term doesn’t really apply. After all, books for kids are often about the formation of the self as it ap ...more
Tiz. T.
Jun 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, united-states, 1900
And here is what YA should bloody well look like.

This book has EVERYTHING:

- A compelling, funny, intelligent, resourceful but not perfect main character.who takes hold of her life with bravery and wit
- An interesting, well-research setting (both the Farm and Baltimore) in which the time's struggles are accurately portrayed
- An insight on important theme (religious persecution, what means to oppress and be oppressed)
- Complex and interesting secondary characters, among which an elderly woman. Mal
Book Riot Community
THIS BOOK. It had me crying at page one when its heroine, fourteen-year-old Joan, is telling her teacher goodbye. Joan loves school, and reading and learning, but her father insists she end her education and work the farm to help out her family. It's Pennsylvania in 1911, and her father demands everyone earn their keep. But when Joan gets a job as a maid outside the home, she allows herself to dream of a different life away from her family's farm. And with her big brain, Joan just might figure o ...more
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Could not put this book down! What a delight! All too often books that try for a naive narrator end up making the protagonist into a fool But not here. Our Joan is naive, but she's intelligent and eager to learn. I adored her, and everyone around her. And I loved the topic and the comparison to DANIEL DERONDA. Such a great book! ...more
May 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book has a very L. M. Montgomery-ish feel to it. Joan gets into a lot of "scrapes" like Anne, but is an aspiring writer like Emily. And like Betsy Ray--using the name Lovelace is a nice touch (though Betsy would never have been so spoony about a boy). References to Jane Eyre, Cyrano, and other favorite literary characters, and the fact that the author is obviously a cat lover, made me love the book even more. ...more
Wow, just wow

If you read the publisher's description you would never read this book.

Read just the first chapter and you will be captured by Joan. The voice is so genuine, the history of the time so well researched that you feel this is a girl from Edwardian times.

It starts out as though it might be a Little house on the Prairie type of book, but then she moves to Baltimore.

I love how I can never guess how the story will go. I can see all the characters and enjoyed meeting them all. Excellent
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
The premise fascinated me - Edwardian era in America! Servant main character! Coming of age story! Diary format! - plus the recommendation from A Mighty Girl. There were positives to this book, but some definite negatives, too.

Joan Scraggs, age 14, is the narrator, and quite frankly, she acts like it. 14 year olds are apparently the same across generations, which I found both amusing and irritating.

The beginning was riveting - a young farm girl, working incredibly hard to help support her farm
Anne (On semi-hiatus)
Jul 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Anne (On semi-hiatus) by: Candi
I enjoyed this YA novel from start to finish, smiling at and rooting for the engaging and endearing 14 year old year old Joan in this coming of age story. Joan's story takes place in the first decade of the 20th Century and is told through diary entries in which she pours out her heart and tells all that happens in her life. She reminded me a lot of Anne Shirley from [book:Anne of Green Gables|8127. She has a lot of pluck, is very intelligent, unwittingly gets into a lot trouble, but always land ...more
Oct 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
“My books promised me that life wasn’t just made up of workaday tasks and prosaic things. The world is bigger and more colorful and more important than that.”

Joan Skraggs lives on a farm with her horrible father and three brothers. When her father bans her from going to school and burns her beloved books, Joan runs away to Baltimore, lies about her age, and becomes a maid for a Jewish family.

Within a few pages I found myself sympathizing with Joan. She was such a lively, colorful, and imagin
The Hired Girl is engaging in a subtle, endearing way. Upon picking it up and realising that the whole thing is told in diary format, I’ll admit I was reluctant to read it. Epistolary stories can be done amazingly well, but they can also quickly go wrong.

However, within a few pages I was hooked.

Joan is young and naive, with elements of characters brought to us by Alcott and Montgomery, but she fancies herself something of a Jane Eyre. She’s a romantic at heart, adores her books, and has a temper
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to TL by: Figgy
Shelves: favorites
“But I think the most important thing those books gave me was a kind of faith. My books promised me that life wasn’t just made up of workaday tasks and prosaic things. The world is bigger and more colorful and more important than that.”

“If I had books, if I could scrape together an education, I’d have a future, whether any man ever asked me to marry him or not.”

Very much enjoyed this :) I loved Joan's spirit and her determination to better herself. Some decisions she made backfired but most ti
Eliza Crewe
Oct 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Enjoyed this one despite it being an epistolary novel. I did get a little frustrated at the very end because of the MC's romantic obsession. I get it--she's 14, it was a different time--but her obvious stupidity was dull and turned an otherwise interesting MC into a cliche. Still, I thought it was great up until that point. ...more
Jenny Q
I did not realize that the narrator was so young, or that the entire novel is told via diary entries. While it is easy to feel for Joan and want to root for her, this is a dense, slow-moving story. It's getting rave reviews from many readers, and I'm sure it is good for those willing to stick through it, but I just don't have the patience for this type of read right now. Maybe I'll try it again in the future. ...more
Diane S ☔
Apr 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: lor-2019
Thoughts soon.
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Tweety, Anne, Naomi Bennet,Anneceleste, Tadiana, Jennifer Marie, Library Lady
Joan Skaggs is tired of being a drudge on her father's farm. She dreams of becoming uplifted and enlightened to become a teacher like her idol, Miss Chandler. It was Miss Chandler who first introduced Joan to books. Joan owns three books: Jane Eyre, Dombey and Son and Ivanhoe. She's read them all many times and longs for more. Her beloved mother understood but her mother is dead, leaving Joan's father and brothers to make a slave of her. When the situation at home becomes intolerable, Joan final ...more
I finished The Hired Girl over a week ago. At first glance, I never would have guessed I would like Joan Skraggs so much. She invited you into her life using a diary. She spoke to you using her written words. I felt like I was a fly on the wall watching her life play out. The emotions she evoked were intense yet calming. Embarrassing but composed. Heartbreaking as well as blessed.

You see, Joan was fourteen years old in 1911; she was the youngest and only daughter of a couple whom probably shoul
Told through diary entries, Laura Amy Schlitz provides young readers with an engaging, historically accurate view of the life of a young girl in her newest book, “The Hired Girl”.

When 14 year-old Joan’s mother dies, her stark life on a meager Pennsylvania farm becomes even more inhospitable. Although she’s a promising student, her father insists she quit school and work on the farm. While her brothers earn a small amount of money for their contributions to the farm operations, Joan’s father den
Aug 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I'm partly admiring and partly torn, because Joan's voice absolutely carries this story - but at the same time, it glosses over a lot of her mistakes, which, even for a fourteen-year-old, feel a bit much. She's a fourteen-year-old who really needs her job, after all, and she forgets that a little too easily and a little too often.

Then there's this:
I didn't promise to write another diary, though. Once someone reads your diary, you're never the same again. You realize you're not alone when you wri
I received a copy of The Hired Girl from Walker Books Australia and New Zealand to review. On the cover it says that this has the “charm of Little Women and the wit of Anne of Green Gables.” I’m kind of embarrassed to say I haven’t read either of these yet. But that just means I can’t compare them. Which is a good thing. I think.

This book is told through Joan’s diary entries. She received the diary from her teacher because Joan wanted to be a writer. Her life gets worse when she’s pulled out of
Paula Vince
I'd challenge anyone to make it through this story without loving the main character and wanting the very best for her.

It takes the form of a diary written over the course of one year in 1911. Fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs tells her own tale of how she escapes an intolerable home situation to work as housemaid for the Rosenbach family of Baltimore. Sometimes the style gets melodramatic, which suits Joan's personality, circumstances and the time period in which she lives.

It's easy to feel her de
Nov 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I was pleasantly surprised by how charming this novel was. Joan is a very delightful and endearing character. Her strong desire for knowledge and to rise above her station in life was very admirable and something I think a lot of readers, specifically millennials, can really relate to. I know I did.

Part of Joan's appeal was in the quality of the writing. It was so perfectly suited for the time period, characters, and story. The plot was paced perfectly. The story moved fairly quickly in six dif
What originally started out as an intriguing story (girl runs away from her horrible home and flees to the city where she's determined to make her own way and get an education) somehow dissolved into the girl trying to convert the Jewish family who hired her to Christianity and then becoming obsessed with a boy (he's 21, she's 14).

Some of the many, many quotes that didn't sit well with me:
I don’t mean that in an anti-Semitic kind of way, because the Jews are good and noble-hearted and love God.

Overall, while sometimes exasperating, this is a nice, sweet book and I didn't dislike it as much as this review is going to make it sound. There is something very sweet and endearing about this book and its main character, but there is also something incredibly irritating too, and I can't decide which side of the scale is winning. Joan/Janet is so sweet and innocent and well meaning, and it's true that I wanted good things for her, but at the same time, her well-meaning meddling and naiveté wer ...more
Annina Luck Wildermuth
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A great old-fashioned read that has it all for me: a fiesty, intelligent heroine, perfect evocation of time and place, an elegant Jewish neighborhood of early 20th century Baltimore, and great characters. I wonder what it would like to read this as a 12 year old?

I still remember how amazing it was to read Jane Eyre for the first time at about that age, a book which The Hired Girl resembles and also references.
Fourteen year old Joan, who loves novels, is forced to give up her education to work on the family farm. Yearning to escape the endless drudgery and her cruel father, Joan leaves home and is eventually hired as a servant in a well-to-do society household. Joan is an optimistic although naive main character, so it helps for the reader to keep in mind many of her well intentioned ideas come from novels such as her beloved Jane Eyre. Her romantic notions based on the the heroines she reads about, l ...more

I didn't expect to enjoy this book as much as I did.

“When I behold the ocean, I know that the world isn't just the grind of small tasks and small thoughts. The world is wide and wild and grand. Someday I will sail my little bark into the great ocean of life, braving the winds and the tide. And while the waves may dwarf me, they will not belittle me, because I will be the master of my fate and the captain of my soul.”
Monica Edinger
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
From my post revealing the cover:

Fans of Laura Amy Schlitz are a patient bunch. We know that it takes time for her beautiful, unique, and complex stories to come into being. Happily, the wait is always worth it. Such is the case for The Hired Girl, out this fall from Candlewick Press. In the form of a diary, the entries are written by the only daughter of a hardscrabble Pennsylvanian widower farmer with four sons. Eager to read, write, learn, and gain knowledge of every sort, 14 year-old Joan S
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Laura Amy Schlitz is an American author of children's literature. She is a librarian and storyteller at The Park School in Brooklandville, Maryland.

She received the 2008 Newbery Medal for her children's book entitled Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village,[1] and the 2013 Newbery Honor for her children's book, Splendors and Glooms.[2] She also won the 2016 Scott O'Dell Award fo

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