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The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  66 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Life in a 1905 Nevada mining town is not easy for any thirteen-year-old. For Kit Donovan, it seems downright impossible. When her mother dies of a fever, Kit is certain she is to blame. Guilt-ridden, she is determined to honor her promises to her mother—namely to be a “proper lady.” Only being a lady is tougher than it looks. When Kit discovers that Papa’s boss at the gold ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 14th 2017 by Albert Whitman Company
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Average rating 4.32  · 
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Whitney Gardner
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan may not be true, but they are tragic - and rollicking! Equal parts Nancy Drew, Series of Unfortunate Events, with a heavy helping of Kit's own hero Huck Finn, Kit struggles to fit the mold of womanhood prescribed by society in her two-bit gold rush town in Nevada. A series of mining accidents and her own follies fitting in at school compel Kit to take action, doing what no woman, even no adult, has the nerve to - and eventually to find a new path in ...more
Breeana Shields
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2k17-books
This book made my Nancy Drew-loving heart happy! Kit Donovan is such an easy heroine to root for—she’s determined, brave, clever, and took me on an adventure that had me flipping the pages late into the night. And the setting—a small Nevada mining town during the Gold rush—added layers of interest and intrigue. Kit is a girl ahead of her times, determined to forge her own path in a world that expects her to be minding her manners in a proper dress, instead of going undercover to work at a newspa ...more
Supriya Kelkar
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan is an exciting story set in Nevada during the gold rush. It was a great read and I love Kit. She is a brave, strong, smart, adventurous girl who is relatable and inspiring as she keeps going despite being knocked down by tragedy.
Katie Nelson
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this story about friendship, justice, and finding the courage to be yourself!

Kit is the perfect middle grade heroine! Equal parts Nancy Drew and Anne Shirley, she speaks her mind (even when it gets her in trouble), is determined to uncover the truth, but underneath that, she has a heart of gold. Set in a poor mining town in Nevada during the gold rush, I felt the dirt on my face and the grit in the water as I read this novel, all while cheering for Kit to solve her father's murder. The a
Alexandra Ott
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fun and endearing read! Kit Donovan is the kind of heroine I love--brave, clever, resourceful, and determined. Fans of middle grade mysteries and historical fiction will really love this! Highly recommend.
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Patricia Bailey’s endearing historical middle-grade debut, THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN, we meet Kit, a bright and resourceful 13-year-old who personifies the word “spunky.” Newly transplanted from the city of Baltimore to the dusty gold-rush town of Goldfield, Nevada, Kit is forced to undergo a succession of tragic events after the untimely death of her mother. With threats of violence lurking at every turn, and exposure to the unsavory presence of good-mine corruption, Kit ...more
Joanne O'Sullivan
So much to love in this book! Kit is such a delightful and well rounded character and those who surround her are wonderful and well developed, too. As a reader and writer of historical fiction, I loved all the obviously well researched historical details from this vivid period of history. Kit's story was adventurous indeed, but also had great heart. There were so many unexpected twists and turns that will keep you turning the pages. This book is classified as middle grade, but I think it's perfe ...more
Kim Ventrella
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You will fall in love with thirteen-year-old Kit Donovan! She is fiery, resilient and full of grit. Patricia Bailey does a great job capturing the atmosphere of an early 1900's gold rush boomtown, complete with saloons, street fights and corrupt mine owners. This book is packed full of tragic events, overwhelming odds, big bad villains and one plucky heroine who meets it all head-on. A great historical middle grade novel for anyone who's ever felt like the underdog. Hooray for Kit! ...more
Suzanne Maley
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kit Donovan's life really is tragic but she doesn't allow that to ruin her spunk. The characters are well developed and the reader will feel as if they know each person. The setting is so well described that the reader will feel that they are right there beside Kit, Arnie, Clara and the others. ...more
Ms. Yingling
E ARC from

In 1905, Kit's mother has passed away from the flu. Her father is still working in the mines in Goldfield, Nevada, and is badly injured by a falling beam. When he confronts the owner about the working conditions, he is fatally shot. Luckily for Kit, a kindly older woman, Clara, takes her in and helps her out. Kit feels a lot of guilt for both parents' deaths, and also has to deal with children at school who think her father was an agitator. After she decides not to go bac
Wendy MacKnight
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
Holy cow, I loved this book. Kit had me heart from page 1 and never let it go. Kit is a heroine for the ages and this book thrilled me and amazed me. The writing is top-notch and the characters memorable. A must-read!
Corabel Shofner
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: swanky-17s
Historic West, Miners, and Tragic Truth. Telling the truth leads to trouble especially for an "almost perfect lady." ...more
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this Newsies-meets-the-wild-west debut by Patricia Bailey! I read it in a day and was fascinated by Kit's courage and the constant links to Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn.

When Kit's mom dies of the influenza, and her dad is murdered in cold blood, it's up to her to prove it was murder and save not only her father's reputation, but the whole town from a scheming mine owner. Standing up for what you believe in isn't easy, especially when no one else is willing to risk it, but Kit is a shini
Karen Johnson
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
close to a 5

Awesome debut.
Strong female protagonist, lots of interesting history and humor, and super use of language/voice.

At first I almost abandoned the book because I had a few issues. Too much tragedy and sadness for one kid I thought. Plus the family came from a well-to-do-ish background back east but she sounded pretty uneducated and it didn't ring true. But there was something there that made me continue reading (I also asked my partner to read the first couple chapters and give me his o
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donkvan is a lovely young adult mystery story. It adds enough historical elements to give you a taste of the gold rush then mixes in murder and theivery. It's a wonderful story of knowing the culprit, but not all the facts and reasoning. It will entertain readers as they search with Kit to find the proof her father was mudered and bring justice to both her family and the town of Goldfield, Nevada. All the while avoiding her aunt's plans to take her back east ...more
Janet Riegel
This book deals with the period of time during the gold rush in a small town in Nevada. Kit's father works in the local mine and she attends school. Initially she has no friends. As a reader you really begin pulling for Kit to have better experiences and friends. The adventure that unfolds in the 2nd part of the book really draws the reader in and you are pulling for Kit to the very end. Better for older elementary students. ...more
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I confess that this book sat on my side table far too long. This past week I caught a nasty cold and after working all day I couldn’t face electronics. I picked up the book and within pages, was hooked. Read the second half the following night and then sent a note to the author asking ehe the next edition of Kit would be out! I highly recommend it!
Jennifer Donovant
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun story. A great read for older kids when studying the gold rush. The book did have a lot of the word d@mn and a few others I didn’t care for, but since it was a read aloud I altered it for my 10yr old.
Jonathan Rosen
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love stories that take place in different time periods and this one was great. Really felt the mood of being in a Gold Rush town. Kit is such a great character to root for, and I love the mystery. Definitely reminded me of Nancy Drew. I highly recommend and look forward to more from this author!
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hooray for smart, strong Kit! An empowering story for all ages.
Jill Cd
What a fun book filled with adventure, goldmines, burros, a murder, and a girl who acts like Huck Finn! A bit of mild swearing occurs but it fits the character. You will love that, Kit!
K.L. Hallam
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

“I killed my mother. Twice, if I am to be completely honest—though she only died the one time.”

Entering Kit’s word we are sent back to 1905 Goldfield, Nevada during the gold rush, and meet Kit Donovan, thirteen-years-old, blaming and publically shaming herself for her mother’s death from pneumonia.

It’s dusty and dirty, and she lives in a tent with her father. Her school is in a tent. Classmates tease her incessantly and throw stones! Her teacher ostracizes and humiliates her. It’s the hard knoc
T.J. Burns
I received a copy of this book from Albert Whitman & Company via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Despite my dislike for the "gutsy in anachronistic ways girl lead" genre, this doesn't irk me as much. Possibly it's because in the Wild West gender roles were often somewhat nontraditional, with girls given more freedom than their Eastern counterparts. Having said that, there is a large dose of improbability that adult readers will have to swallow; younger readers won't have read as much and will be swept along by the plot to notice.

ARC provided by publisher.
Apr 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was completely transported to 1905 Goldfield, Nevada in this book! The author expertly crafts a complex novel about a young girl standing up for the right thing (even when it's difficult – and dangerous), overcoming obstacles, and finding her own identity in a rough-and-tough goldmining town. I loved Kit's spunk, smarts, courage, and resourcefulness! Her adventures in unearthing a mystery – and possible corruption in the goldmining community – lead up to a fast-paced climatic ending that had m ...more
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan
I really wish I could have given this more praise, as the description seemed to be of interest. The story however failed to capture my interest.

Thank you to NetGalley for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Dec 06, 2016 marked it as to-read
Note: I accessed digital review copies of this book through NetGalley and Edelweiss.
Ruth Schiffmann
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book so much. Kit has spunk, she has heart, and hers is a story that you just won’t want to put down.
Jennifer Zeleny
rated it it was amazing
May 04, 2017
rated it liked it
May 22, 2018
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Patricia Bailey grew up in a small town in Oregon. She now lives in a slightly larger town in Oregon with her husband and three cats. She spends her time exploring forgotten places, hiking mountain trails, and scribbling story ideas on sticky notes.

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