The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz
Joann is a 14-year old girl who is the woman of her farm. Her mother has died, the boys of her family are busy in the field, so it is up to Joann to cook, clean and do all the chores needed to keep a farming household running in 1911.
Joann is very spirited and deep down, she knows that this life is not for her. She wants more. She loves to read, she loves to learn and would love to be a teacher someday.
When Joann reaches her breaking point, she decides to run away to the city. Even with all of her preparations, she realizes pretty soon that she is not prepared at all.
Thankfully, she runs into Solomon, known for bringing home strays, to see if his mother can help her. Joann lies about her age, changes her name, and begins her adventures as their hired girl.
I loved how spunky Joann was even when she had no reason to be. She was a great character to get to know as she always strived for more, even when she had so little. I also loved how she would notice similarities in her own bleak life to the characters she read about in her books.
About 3/4 the way through this book, I felt that it could have ended and I would have loved it. I found the last 1/4 to drag on a little. With that being said, historical fiction is a hard sell but if students will give this book a chance, I think they will enjoy it.