Holm, Jennifer L. Our Only May Amelia. New York: Harper Trophy, 1999.
May Amelia is the only girl in her settlement on the Nasel River in Washington State. some say she's a miracle. Others think she's a pest. But they all concur that she's their only May Amelia. May endures a pregnant mother (this means she has to do all the housekeeping), 7 older brothers, a disproving father, and a cruel grandmother. She also has any number of people (relatives, friends, and acquaintances) tell her she needs to be a "Proper Young Lady." May Amelia doesn't see anything special or fun in being a proper young lady. She prefers to be herself though others despair of her lack of refinement.
What I thought: It took me a few moments to get engaged in this book. I think the absence of quotation marks around speech was part of the problem. May Amelia is such a spunky girl. I guess she has to be when there are 7 older brothers there to roughhouse with her. I'm the oldest in my smaller family (only 1 brother & 1 sister) so it was nice to experience what it would be like to be the youngest. I am pleased to discover that Jennifer Holm based the character of May Amelia on her grandaunt. Historical books based on family stories always seem more real to me. (Another of my favorites is Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson.)