Read The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher by JessicaLawson Online


In 1860, eleven-year-old Becky Thatcher is the new girl in town, determined to have adventures like she promised her brother Jon before he died. With her Mama frozen in grief and her Daddy busy as town judge, Becky spends much of her time on her own, getting into mischief. Before long, she joins the boys at school in a bet to steal from the Widow Douglas, and Becky convincIn 1860, eleven-year-old Becky Thatcher is the new girl in town, determined to have adventures like she promised her brother Jon before he died. With her Mama frozen in grief and her Daddy busy as town judge, Becky spends much of her time on her own, getting into mischief. Before long, she joins the boys at school in a bet to steal from the Widow Douglas, and Becky convinces her new best friend, Amy Lawrence, to join her.Becky decides that she and Amy need a bag of dirt from a bad man’s grave as protection for entering the Widow's house, so they sneak out to the cemetery at midnight, where they witness the thieving Pritchard brothers digging up a coffin. Determined to keep her family safe (and to avoid getting in trouble), Becky makes Amy promise not to tell anyone what they saw.When their silence inadvertently results in the Widow Douglas being accused of the graverobbery, Becky concocts a plan to clear the Widow’s name. If she pulls it off, she might just get her Mama to notice her again and fulfill her promise to Jon in a most unexpected way . . . if that tattle-tale Tom Sawyer will quit following her around.Cover by Iacopo Bruno...

Title : The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781481401500
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 215 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher Reviews

  • Bailey
    2019-02-09 16:08

    I kept my eyes down and picked at the scab on my knee, afraid to look up at her. Gently, she cupped my chin in her hand and tilted my head up to meet hers. "You leave that scab alone, you hear me? Keep picking and picking at something like that, making it bleed over and over, and your whole leg will be ruined. Knees and hearts take enough bruising from life as it is. They ain't meant to be beat up by your own self." -Miss Ada To be truthful, I was very hesitant going into this book. It is very rare for me to not love a piece of literature that I pick up. I'm funny like that, always enjoying every book. That being said, I really respect and enjoy some of Mark Twain's work, but "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" simply wasn't for me. When a friend of mine at the library offered "The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher" as a possible read, I was skeptical. In the end, I promised them that I would read it and then hoped for the best. The end result is simply WOW! Jessica Lawson blew me away! Before I get too carried away with my thoughts on this subject, I'll give you a little overview on what to expect in Jessica's book. Becky Thatcher's family recently moved to St. Petersburg, Missouri, in an attempt to start over. Once her dear older brother, Jon, died roughly a year ago, her father, Judge Thatcher, decided they needed a change. Becky's mother, yet to fully get over her son's death, keeps to herself and has faltered in her attempt to start living again. To keep her brother close, Becky wears Jon's old overalls in hopes to make it feel as though the pressure building in her chest is Jon's arms around her instead of the grief that threatens to overwhelm Becky's very being. Not only does she do this, she also carries around his precious bag of marbles wherever she goes. She promised that she'd take them on all of her adventures so that he can be a part of them as well. Now, all Becky has to do is find adventures in this sleepy little town.While Judge Thatcher frequently asks his daughter to start acting like a lady and grow up while taking responsibility, Becky continues to spit cherry pits, sneak out of the house at night, and make trouble. It's not a big surprise when she quickly befriends one of the town's well known troublemakers, Sid Sawyer. Sid lives with his tattletale younger brother, Tom, and their Aunt Polly. Sid loves adventures while Tom's too scared to have one of his own. With Sid's bosom friend, Joe, they strike a deal with Becky to steal from the Widow Douglas, the "town witch." Becky then makes friends with Amy whose father happens to be the town drunk. Amy's still going through the long lasting effects of her mother's death, bonding the two girls through a tie of loss. Amy is then recruited in the Widow Douglas extravaganza. In their preparation of gathering graveyard soil prior to their thievery job so they can protect themselves from the "witch," they see more than they bargained for. Wanted murders are in Becky and Amy's sight. Perhaps Becky got more than she bargained for in the adventure department. What will happen next, and what in the world did these two get themselves into? In the middle of this well-written story is Samuel Clemens, also known as the famous Mark Twain, right in the center of Becky's adventures. He's staying with the Sawyer family while waiting for the parts of his broken boat to come in. He's consistently found writing down his thoughts and things that the children tell him, such as the idea of attending your own funeral (wink wink for those "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" fans) and having adventures for those who are too afraid to embark on them.Jessica Lawson wrote a fantastic novel that really made me interested in what her story was played off of. I never in a million years believed that I would enjoy something like this, but I did truly and unexpectedly love it! To explain to you what this book is about, I must use an excerpt from Lawson's "Author's Note" page: This novel is meant to be an origin story, suggesting that Clemens'sThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer was actually inspired by a happenstance stop in a small Missouri town during the author's river piloting days and, more specifically, by the adventures of a young girl he encountered there, Becky Thatcher. While I realize that this was not the reason for Mark Twain's book, it was imaginative and intriguing, not to mention clever on Jessica's part. I loved how every character in this book was depicted as someone so distinct and different from Mark Twain's original creations. Sid and Tom practically swapped places. No longer is Sid the tattletale and the "good child." Tom has taken up that role. Becky isn't the sweet girl who is engaged to Tom Sawyer, a friendless little boy in this story. Becky is someone entirely different, and she was so well voiced, a superb strong presence. Full of drive, courage, and loss, she's certainly a character not to be rivaled with. The character of Sam Clemens was my ultimate favorite to read about. Every time he showed up, he was so captivating to hear about and listen to. The way that Lawson decided how certain things or people, such as Huck's character and the original Tom formed by this new one, got to be represented in the timeless and classic tales was so brilliant. I was caught smiling at the end.What truly amazed me in this book is something of a theme that I keep mentioning: loss. It didn't weigh down the story too much, but its presence was there nonetheless. The book had such profound thoughts on the subject. This was shown in Becky's heart and mind which never stopped wondering when her mother would get over her deceased son and start to spend time with the one who was still living. Becky realizes that Jon's death isn't something so easily forgotten, he'll always be there even if he's not with them, but she still deals with the struggle daily. When Becky's mother refuses to acknowledge many of Becky's actions, Miss Thatcher's left with a feeling of being dead to her mother. I never expected this subject matter in The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher's content. However, it was such an enrichment to the story. It made me love Becky more and realize what an amazing character she truly was.All in all, The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher was a fabulous read. However, I did lose interest in the book for twenty or so pages, henceforth the four stars, but I was quickly thrown headfirst back into the story once the adventure began again with no ending in site. While Jessica's writing style was similar to that of Twain's own voice (an on purpose action, I'm sure), she also put her own heart into it. It was great! If you loved Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn, I'm certain that you'll love this book just as much. It's funny, endearing, and a true voice in today's literature. If you haven't read Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn's stories yet or didn't like them so much maybe you should give this book a try. If you've never heard of or read those books, read this book anyway because it is definitely something to consider. You might be surprised. I know I sure was, and who knows...maybe I'll go and pick up The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and give it a try...all thanks to Jessica Lawson! You can see reviews like this one and more at

  • Pop Bop
    2019-02-16 20:20

    A Rollicking Tale; the Tom Sawyer Angle Is A BonusSo, there seem to be two ways to go with popular public domain book characters. You can try to recreate them and produce authentic continuations of their stories. Or, you can start with their general features and then improvise your way to new interpretations. The first path is the harder of the two because you have to get voice, plot, narrative style and a zillion tiny details just right. The best example of this that I've seen recently is the "sequel" to "Treasure Island", ("Jim Hawkins and the Curse of Treasure Island") written by Frank Delaney and intended to be read as though it were an actual second book written by Robert Louis Stevenson. But, unsuccessful attempts are all over; look at all of the franchise characters like James Bond and Sherlock Holmes that never come properly to life.The second course leaves you with a lot more freedom. Dorothy from Kansas, and Alice from Wonderland, and the Grimm fairy tale characters, and Jane Austen's gang have all appeared over and over in forms that run the gamut from zombie lit to space opera. With the right attitude and some good humor a lot of those efforts have been fun.This book very successfully follows the middle way. It doesn't seem to be intended to copy or recreate or counterfeit the original Tom Sawyer. It is set in the same locale, the writing style follows Twain's, it overlaps and mixes with Twain's plot, it incorporates all of the Tom Sawyer characters, and it emulates the original's energy and bemused good humor. But, the author wisely features Becky, a fairly minor and underdeveloped character in the original books. This choice makes everything else work. The reader is not distracted by comparing this Becky to Twain's Becky. This Becky can be developed in a way that pays tribute to the original but is very appealing to a modern adventurous girl reader. The author can make many allusions, either obvious or sly, to the original without weighing down or impeding the narrative. As a consequence the book works well on many levels and offers rewards to readers of varying ages and levels of reading experience. The book ranges from a spirited "Girls' Own" rural/historical adventure tale that could just as well be starring a girl from Iowa named Jane to a knowing commentary on the original "Sawyer".And this Becky deserves her own story. She is brave, loyal, clever, spirited, stubborn, loyal and full of energy, personality and pluck. She never wears out the reader's welcome and her instincts are usually guided by common sense and good humor. And I guess that's what I mean about the whole Tom Sawyer angle being a bonus. Even without any of that this is an engaging and entertaining adventure tale. What a nice effort.Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.

  • Isaiah Campbell
    2019-01-23 17:54

    Ask me to list my top five authors, and any day of the week the names will generally change. Except for one. Mark Twain.Probably the most influential book I ever read as a kid was The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, followed by The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and then (because I believe in reading thoroughly, doggone it) Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective.So when I heard that there was going to be a book from the yet-untold-perspective of Becky Thatcher, I hopped on that like a frog from Calaveras County. (See what I did there?) I immediately voiced how much I wanted an ARC on the Twittersphere. And Jessica Lawson, author of the coveted tome, responded and we exchanged ARCs.Before I read it, however, Jessica felt the need to make me aware that this book was not a retelling of the Tom Sawyer tale from Becky's perspective. Nor was it a "story-behind-the-story" sort of non-fiction documentary book. It is, instead, something very, very different. And she didn't want me to be disappointedShe didn't need to worry.The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher is a story Mark Twain himself would be proud to write. Imagine visiting St. Petersburg, MO (Tom Sawyer's hometown) in a parallel universe to the Tom & Huck world. In a universe where Tom Sawyer isn't the scalawag we all know and love, but is instead a sniveling, whiny kid who tattles on everyone. Imagine a universe where Mark Twain isn't the absent narrator, giving voice to the characters born from his memory, but is instead Samuel Clemens, sitting on a porch, watching the adventures play out in front of his eyes.And imagine a world where Becky isn't the straight-laced, proper, object of Tom's affection, but is instead the seed-spitting, marble playing, midnight-cemetery-raiding hero of her own adventure, an adventure that puts her and her new best friend in a world of danger. The kind of danger you only find in St. Petersburg.Yeah, that's the world Jessica has created. And that's the world readers get to visit in this fantastic book that is a great read for kids and for grown-kids. Plus S&S is releasing a box set of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Becky Thatcher, which is just the perfect thing to do with a book like this.

  • Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
    2019-01-24 15:57

    See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten! My copy was an ARC I received from the publisher via Edelweiss.I haven’t read ten words of a Mark Twain novel in my life, but like a lot of other Americans, I know a good bit about The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn thanks to them being considered classics. More than a few people get the reference of Tom tricking other people to paint the white fence for him when it comes up in pop culture. A reimagining of these characters with Becky Thatcher as the tomboyish main character? I didn’t know much about her, but sure, I could go for that kind of fun! Too bad it didn’t turn out to be so fun.The case might be that I’m not the right audience for this book in a number of ways. I don’t read a lot of middle-grade fiction and I’m long past the age of the average MG reader, but I have no prejudices against it like some harebrained adults have against YA. I’m someone who isn’t a Mark Twain fan because I know nothing of his work other than what I read on Wikipedia in the midst of reading The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher. Moreover, I’m a big fan of fanfiction, being both a reader and a former writer of it.That last one is the most important factor without a doubt. I feel there’s a difference between a glorified fanfic and a retelling/reimagining of a well-known story. The latter adds something to how the reader thinks about and experiences the source material while standing tall as its own work; the former is akin to the negative 90% of Sturgeon’s Law I would find on and usually fails the source material. The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher reads like a glorified fanfics to me and I would have been pissed if I’d paid nearly $20 for this.Like I said, I don’t know Twain’s work from firsthand experience, but upon the introduction of the tattletale suck-up Tom Sawyer of this novel, I figured something was off here. He didn’t resemble the well-known trickster that shared his name at all! So I went and looked up the characters and yeah, no one who loves Tom Sawyer/Huckleberry Finn will be finding any familiar faces here. Sure, they’ll see familiar names, but this is one big out-of-character fanfic using the names of famous characters but giving them entirely different personalities. Had they been just a little different, I could understand, but they’re so different that I can’t understand why they share these characters’ names at all! I like my fanfics to bear at least some resemblance to the source material. I almost feel bad for Twain.Even as its own story, it isn’t that good. Becky is an okay character, but she’s a very paint-by-numbers protagonist in a paint-by-numbers story. She’d b a bit better if she weren’t so anxious for a kitten to die naturally (she wants to use it for a protection spell) and she then spends a lot of the novel carrying around the corpse of said kitten. NO. DO NOT HARM OR KILL THE FICTIONAL CATS OR USE THEM LIKE OBJECTS. STOP IT. Anyway, the story itself isn’t that exciting. There’s a bet and a mean girl and a mean teacher and two murderous graverobbers and a lot of predictable stuff. The narrative voice of the novel is exactly what I imagine it would be in a girl like this novel’s Becky at her age, but that’s about all I liked. Becky is really just the typical tomboy who eschews all femininity because it’s impossible to like dirt, adventures, and dresses.There’s a good chance I’m missing the point of the novel, but this is how I experienced it and I’ve got a duty to be honest about it.The end of the novel presents what happens here as truth and what happens in Twain’s novels as him taking these real people and turning them into something else, which makes me side-eye fictional Sam Clemens (because yes, the author makes a cameo in this story as a pilot temporarily stranded in the town). He takes this very anachronistic girl who is and turns her into an object of idolization for Tom Sawyer, the real-life tattletale and fictional mischief-maker he writes as the latter to give the boy an adventure of his own? What an insult to Becky! The scenes where Sam and Becky discuss the nature of stories are intriguing, especially since they’re combining fiction and reality by putting a very real man in the fictional world he made up, but the insult of knowing how he casts each character in his books in comparison to how they’re portrayed “truthfully” in this novel stings me.Maybe an appropriately aged MG reader would be really into The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher, but I as a very atypical reader for this book didn’t. I can’t imagine any big fans of the Twain novels this book reimagines will like it much either.

  • Anna (Curiosity comes before Kay)
    2019-01-26 21:02

    I have to admire Jessica Lawson's ingenuity. As both a fanfic author and reader, I can more than respect a well thought-out "what-if" scenario. So, the switch in the personalities of Sid and Tom, along with the inclusion of Sam Clemens would have been more than enough to draw me in as a potential reader. Add in the fact that Becky Thatcher is actually the mischievous protagonist in this one, with Tom and Sid as side-characters, and you have me hooked like a large-mouth bass! Even with all of that aside, I actually really enjoyed this book! This is exactly the kind of book that I loved as a child, with a daring and adventurous heroine, well-drawn side characters (friends, family, etc.), and a rollicking plot full of fun. Becky has just moved to a small Missouri town with her parents, almost a year after the death of her much-loved and admired older brother, Jon. Becky's Daddy is busy being the town judge and has to deal with notorious thieves, the Pritchard brothers, on the loose and her Mama is sunk down into her grief, with no time for Becky. So she has plenty of time for mischief!There are some sly allusions to the original stories by Mark Twain, especially with Sam Clemens as a stranded riverboat pilot, waiting on a part for his ship, and gathering material for stories he likes to write. Becky becomes friends with Sid Sawyer, almost immediatly puts the tattling Tom (brother of Sid) on her revenge list and is mostly just happy to make some friends and have adventures. But when attempting to get grave dirt for "protection spells" against the Widow Douglas (a known witch), so that the girls can win a five-dollar bet to take something from her house, they get into more trouble than they can handle! They stumble upon a grave-robbing and barely escape with their lives! Becky has to decide whether being grown up means telling the truth and accepting punishment, or having adventures - or if she can possibly do both. I love the writing style of Lawson in this book! Unlike Twain, the dialect isn't so heavy that you have a hard time reading it. It's still there, but not as thick. Also, there are some beautiful prose passages and Becky, is a loveable heroine who never once got on my nerves. Overall, I would recommend this even to people who just like historical fiction with a sense of humor, even if they've never read Mark Twain. You'll still like it, I promise. Or as Becky and Amy would say I "vow" it! :DFavorite Quotes:-- 'I found my way to the riverbank."Hello, Miss Issipi," I said. "You're looking awful pretty this morning, with that fog coming off your water. You're going your way and I'm going mine." I tipped my hat, but the Miss ignored me. I didn't mind a bit, though. I liked the river real well....I stared at the Miss, watching the first bit of sunlight make flashes on the water. I wondered if Jon up in Heaven could see those flashes, if he'd met Jesus at all, and if he'd put in a good word for me.'-- "Kiss my grits," I swore. "That brother of yours has done it again." I hit Sid's shoulder.Joe spit on the ground. "How'd he find out, that sneak!" Though he sounded mad, I could tell Joe was as worried as the rest of us. "I thought I saw Tom when I was putting out your flames," I told Sid. "Probably told Aunt Polly that I tried to set Mrs. Douglas's house on fire." "Who's Mrs. Douglas?" Joe asked. His face wrinkled up like when Dobbins asked him a math question. "You can go to jail for doing something like that!" Amy cried.And the widow might go to jail for grave robbing, I thought. Maybe we'll be stuck in the same cell.

  • Ms. Yingling
    2019-01-22 17:05

    Becky and her family have moved to St. Petersburg, Missouri, to start over following the death of her brother Jon from an undetermined wasting disease. Her father, a judge, is very concerned with the Pritchard brothers, criminals who are terrorizing their area, but also worries that Becky is getting into all sorts of trouble. And she is. Having made a pact with her brother, she is determined to have all of the adventures that Jon can't have, and wears his clothes in order to feel close to him. She starts her new school, where she makes immediate friends with Amy Lawrence and immediate enemies with Tom Sawyer, whom she thinks is a tattle tale. Local boys have a bet to see who can steal something from the local witch, Widow Douglas, and Becky is ready to jump into the fray. There is a very cruel and frustrated teacher in her school, Mr. Dobbins, who was deemed incompetent to be the town dentist, and isn't proving to be very good at teaching either. A young riverboat captain, Sam Clemens, is hanging around town waiting for his boat to be repaired, and he gives Becky some advice on breaking into the Widow Douglas' house. She and Amy concoct a plan, but things get serious when the widow is accused of grave robbing based on circumstantial evidence. After meeting the widow, the girls are even more determined to clear her name, and Becky also hopes that her mother can overcome her grief and start to care about her daughter and her activities.Strengths: This was a very well-crafted book, with fun lines like a house that looks like "a museum of badly crocheted doilies" (pg. 24). This is a fun spin on Twain's work, bringing new life to old characters and changing things up a bit. The mystery of the Pritchard brothers is a good one, and the inclusion of Twain as a character rounds things out nicely.Weaknesses: While this is an excellent choice for most libraries, I have two very strong personal objections to it. The first is that we had a teacher several years ago who required an advanced class to read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and I have never seen students have such a miserable time with a book. My younger daughter was among them, and she had such a hatred for the book that I can't see the original being enjoyed by too many middle grade students. The second is the way that Jon's death is dealt with by the characters. I understand that Ms. Lawson's brother-in-law, Jon, died before she started to write this book, and certainly the death of a parent and spouse is the most devastating to deal with, but I wanted to shake Becky's mother. It is not acceptable for a parent to spend so much time grieving over a dead child that a surviving child is ignored. Becky, too, spent entirely too much time pining for her brother, and this does not seem to be historically accurate. In 1860, death of young people for various reasons would have been much more commonplace. Also, it got kind of weird when Becky was completely okay with the death of a kitten, so much so that she intended to use the body for one of her exploits and even told Amy to just pick any maggots that formed off of the body. People die. The survivors need to come to terms with it and move on. Becky clearly was crying for help, and the fact that her mother was ignoring her is not a constructive coping mechanism middle grade students need to see in literature.

  • Becky
    2019-01-29 20:10

    I was surprised by how much I LOVED The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher. I think the timing was just right for me to love it. Becky Thatcher is new in town. Her father is a judge. Her mother is a mess. To be fair, her mother is grieving the loss of her son, Jon. Becky and her father miss him too, of course. But. Her mother is deeply stuck in a very dark and melancholy place. Becky has her own way of dealing with her loss. For one, she likes to put on her brother's clothes, take him with her, if you will, and have lots of adventures. She wants to see everything, do everything, just take in each and every moment. It's not that she is out to break all the rules for the sake of breaking every rule. It's that she doesn't want to stop living and having adventures. So. She's sneaking out of the house and going off exploring and adventuring without the knowledge of either parent. Which means that her neighbor that oh-so-horrible Tom Sawyer can tattle on her often. And he does. He is a big tattle-tale which makes him about the least popular kid in town. If there's one kid you can count on to be far away from trouble, it's Tom Sawyer. So the novel is her adventures, her coming-of-age story. One of the people she meets is Samuel Clemens. He's a riverboat captain temporarily stranded in their small town. He oversees the adventures and misadventures of all the kids in town. I liked this one. I think I even LOVED it.

  • Pat (Get Kids to Read) Tierney
    2019-01-29 21:14

    The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky ThatcherLawson, Jessica. Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher. Simon & Schuster For Young Readers, 2014. PrintA copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review. This review is also posted on Get Kids to Read: Jessica Lawson's The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher, takes the classic Mark Twain characters from Tom Sawyer and spins a new tale that is very well done. Becky Thatcher is new in town. She doesn't have many friends yet. After a bad first impression with Tom Sawyer, she is determined to hate him forever. Becky will find adventures in the Missouri town when Sid convinces her to steal something from that old witch, the Widow Douglas. Lawson's tale takes the characters in new directions while being true to the original creations. Her voice is true to Mark Twain, and his appearance in the book as a steamboat captain who wants to be an author is a clever nod to his book Life on the Mississippi. Lawson is seamlessly able to incorporate not only Twain's style of writing but his humor as well. This book is recommended for those children and adults who read and enjoyed Tom and Huck's Adventures but also for new readers who can read this story and then read the classics.

  • B
    2019-01-26 18:18

    I listened to this book instead of reading it, which I highly recommend. The reader, Tavia Gilbert, could not have done a better job at capturing the spirit of lively and imaginative Becky Thatcher, as well as the core of the many other characters in this book.Which is a wonderful reimagining of how Samuel Clements came to write Tom Sawyer in the first place. Becky, new to the town, with a mother unattentive due to her grief from the death of Becky's older brother, and a father very busy as the new judge, has plenty of opportunity to get into mischief with no adult supervision. She quickly figures out the "cool" kids in town, (not Tom though, he's a tattletale!), and how to impress them. Her quick mind and mouth that won't stop talking, sometimes help her get out of situations, but more often than not, gets her into them. What impressed me the most? The clever use of language including many southern expressions, (are those real?), had me laughing out loud.

  • Amanda
    2019-01-23 18:11

    This book started out slow for me but once I was hooked, she had me! I love the alternative tale and perspective of Becky & Tom. This book also deftly handles the topic of grief which I didn't expect but do appreciate.

  • Robert Kent
    2019-02-08 21:08

    First Paragraph(s): My left leg twitched at the tickle of another night-boy. Hidden by the wide trunk of a river sycamore, I shifted in my crouch and reached a hand inside Jon’s overalls to trap and smack the creeping skitter. Darn things had been a considerable nuisance since I settled myself along the Mississippi to have a look-see at the grounded steamboat and its crew. The men had piled onshore and hauled sitting logs from the brush while I played at them being pirates and me being a stowaway. With the help of passed flasks and a roaring riverside fire, they’d gone from grumbling to mighty spirited in the last hour, and before long I got sucked in by a story one of them was reading from a tablet of writing paper. I was tolerably invested in the tale of a dimwit and his ornery bullwhip—the dimwit having whipped himself nearly to tears while the bull watched—and barely had time to react when the listener nearest me rose with a chuckle and a belch. While the crew applauded the story’s end, I deepened my crouch and slunk farther behind the tree, checking to make sure Jon’s marble sack was still stuffed into one of my hip pockets. The belching man stumbled around the fire with a happy laugh. “You mean to tell us,” he said, lurching at the storyteller, “that you put those words together in your own head?”“That’s how writing generally works,” the story man said, standing and stretching. “Think up a few lies, put them to paper. I imagine any of you liars would make a fine writer." Esteemed Reader, I'm so excited to tell you about this week's book as it was written by an Esteemed Reader such as yourself and it's one of my new favorites. I love Tom Sawyer almost as much as I love Huckleberry Finn and it's a wonder to me that a Becky Thatcher solo book wasn't already a thing. It's one of those ideas that's so clever you have to wonder why no one else has done it. I'd be hard pressed to think of a concept for a book more likely to appeal to agents, editors, teachers, librarians, and finally readers, than a new story set in Tom Sawyer's world. What I said to Mrs. Ninja when I first saw the book was "all Jessica has to do is write a story that doesn't suck, and she's golden."Jessica Lawson has done a lot better than simply "not suck." Her writing is fiercely funny and written in the style of Mark Twain while making itself a bit more accessible to the younger readers of today. Does she have the same wit as the literary giant whose shadow is cast over all modern literature and who is remembered as a greater writer than even he could have possibly been? And that there question, which readers are bound to ask, is probably the reason why this book hasn't already been published. Comparisons between Jessica Lawson, debut novelist, and Mark Twain, literary god, are inevitable and just to make certain, her publisher has boxed her brand-new book with Twain's classics.The marketing is a double-edged sword. It's a swell promotion opportunity for a new writer, but it puts her in the hot seat, not to mention her middle grade story for modern readers is set is Missouri 1860 when slave owning was still a thing (American prison statistics suggest it's still kind of a thing). This tells us that Jessica Lawson is either one of the bravest writers who ever lived or crazy. Well, she's not crazy. She is, however, extremely clever. That fellow above in the first few paragraphs of the book is a steam-boat pilot passing through by the name of Sam Clemens. No spoilers, but you long-time Mark Twain fans can be assured that Lawson pays homage where homage is due and includes a very fun plot device that declares her book not to be official cannon before anyone else can. By acknowledging within the story that she is clearly not Mark Twain and her book is its own separate thing, Jessica Lawson skirts around the comparisons and lowers the guard of feisty English majors everywhere.As for slavery, Becky and her family have Miss Ada, a "colored woman" (alas, there are no n-bombs dropped) who lives with them and cooks their meals and is technically their slave, although the family is from the North and they don't think of her that way. She's with them of her own free will and genuinely cares for Becky, but there are dynamics to that situation wisely left unexplored. Miss Ada is a lot like Alice on The Brady Bunch, an unofficial member of the family. If there's anything that gives me pause about The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher, which is a wonderful book, it's this white-washed fence of a portrayal of slavery as "not that bad." You long-time Esteemed Readers may recall I've taken a strong stance on this in the past.If I wrote this book (why didn't I write this book!?!), I wouldn't be able to resist the temptation of writing about the harsh realities of slave owning (even a nice family from the North might change when moving to the south to discover they can own a person and more people if they like).And it would be a mistake.Slavery is a scene steal-er and you can't have just a little of it in your story without it taking over. How will modern readers sympathize with the Thatchers or any of the slave-owners in town if we think of them as true slave-owners? It would put a barrier between us and create a situation that the plot would have to address, drawing focus away from all else.As I've said, Jessica Lawson is extremely clever. She doesn't deny the reality of slavery, she simply acknowledges it without wallowing or allowing it to become the main event. She does this primarily by limiting the perspective of the novel to Becky. Becky sees Miss Ada as a sort of surrogate mother, not property, and that makes us care for Becky, which is priority one. And besides, Becky Thatcher has plenty to deal with outside of slavery, such as the very real possibility that the Widow Douglas might just be a witch (love this passage):Sid scowled plenty. “I reckon we’re not. See her red-tipped tools? Might as well be a devil’s pitchfork in that mix. She’s always outside with her crazy weeds and herbs.” He stared at me again, jutting his chin out for good measure. “Evil weeds and herbs. For her spells, I imagine.” I squinted at the herbs. One looked like lavender to me. And I saw a bunch of mint for certain. Miss Ada says it spreads like gossip. But I knew it wasn’t polite to argue too much when a new friend is pointing out the town witch. Besides, those red-tipped tools were a dead giveaway. Everyone knew red was a devil color unless it was on clothes, strawberry jam, the American flag, or Christmas decorations.I laughed all through The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher. It's a fun story with a new take on familiar characters readers are going to love. Younger readers probably aren't going to care about the authorial acrobatics Jessica Lawson is performing. They're going to care that this a witty tale of fun similar to Tom Sawyer, while doing it's own thing.Becky gains a new best friend in Amy Lawrence and the two give Huck and Tom a run for their money in the adventure having game. I'll let Ruth explain the particulars of their unique relationship:Ruth ignored her and jabbed a finger toward the stream. “Why don’t you go sit with Amy Lawrence? Her daddy being the town drunk and your daddy being the town judge, you’re bound to run into each other soon enough.” She smiled sweetly, but her eyes stayed as mean as a trapped raccoon. “Oh, and her mama’s dead and I hear your brother’s dead, so you can talk about dead people too.”For all the fun and excitement, this story has a lot of heart. Becky's brother Jon, who she sometimes called Huckleberry--which becomes important later--has died months before the start of our story. As if this weren't enough grief for one eleven-year-old girl, Becky's mother is severely depressed and has retreated to her bedroom full time, leaving Becky to fend for herself.Becky has plenty of emotional baggage to unpack by the story's end, but she's also got a problem. Tom Sawyer is a no-good tattletale and needs to be dealt with. Oh, and there's the little matter of traveling criminals on the loose:Straightening my posture so I looked good and grown-up, I stepped into Daddy’s home office to say goodbye. My eye caught on a poster sitting on his desk. Daddy was nowhere to be seen, so I let my shoulders drop and roll into a hunch while I leaned forward to read. WANTED: 2 PRITCHARDS (Billy and Forney) Wanted for train robbery, bank robbery, and possible murder. Description: Billy Pritchard~near 6 foot tall. Forney Pritchard~considerably shorter. Few teeth, longish dark hair, fondness for liquor and tobacco. Generally filthy.Goodness me. I hope those Pritchard boys don't become an issue for Becky and Amy later on:) I'd tell you more, but this review is already too long, so I'll just say that any Mark Twain fan should snap up this book at once. If you're not a Mark Twain fan, you haven't read him, so read this book and then read his and you've got yourself a wonderful weekend ahead:)Jessica Lawson has penned a truly impressive debut novel that brought me a lot of joy. I respect her as a writer whose considerable skill I can appreciate, but I also like her as a storyteller. The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher is a great tale and something extra special readers don't come across that often, but always appreciate when they find.As always, I'll leave you with some of my favorite passages from The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher:“Makes me think of John 8:32.” “Jon who?” “It’s a Bible verse, dear. John 8:32 says that the truth will set you free.” “Yes, ma’am,” I said, thinking two things. First, that instead of setting him free, the truth would most likely get Danny Boggs a whipping or scolding at home. Second, I guessed that my brother Jon and the Bible’s John probably wouldn’t be friends up in Heaven, having different opinions on what sorts of things made a person feel free.His lips fell like someone who’d opened up a present and found a pile of cat poop.That’s a beautiful and dangerous thing to have in a best friend, one that’s not inclined to lie. Daddy would probably plunk honesty in the category of being responsible and grown-up, but telling the plain truth didn’t suit my lifestyle much. I’d been gradually convincing Amy that most lies were right nice, because you were telling people what they wanted to hear, and what could be wrong with making people happy?“Brought you half a pie,” I whispered back. “Miss Ada made extra.” Maybe it would cheer her daddy up. I heard that misery loves company, but I suspected it would get along with pie, too. Also, I figured Amy was an inexperienced mischief-maker, and it didn’t hurt to balance the idea of bad-doing with a reward of something good-tasting.

  • Rosita Alfieri
    2019-02-05 20:56

    Appena trasferitasi in una nuova cittadina a ridosso del fiume Mississippi, la giovane Becky sogna di vivere una grande avventura in onore del fratello venuto a mancare l'estate prima. E quale migliore avventura che rubare dalla casa di una vedova che tutti i ragazzi della città sono convinti essere una strega? L'unica cosa che gli manca per affrontare questa impresa è la terra presa dalla tomba di un uomo, in un cimitero durante la mezzanotte. Ma quello che Becky e la sua amica Amy vedranno quella fatidica notte, li porterà a vivere un'avventura più grande di quella che si aspettavano.Avevo preso in mano questo libro per via dell'ambientazione e perchè l'autrice dice di essersi ispirata a "le avventure di Tom Sawyer" per scriverlo.In effetti questo romanzo è un vero e proprio omaggio al lavoro di Twain e, al suo interno, compaiono dei personaggi della sua opera. Persino lo stesso Tom.La cosa mi ha fatto molto piacere essendo io molto legata al romanzo di Twain. E l'autrice è stata molto brava a ricreare proprio quell'atmosfera."The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher" è un romanzo per ragazzi semplice, leggero e in grado di tenerti buona compagnia. Il personaggio di Becky è davvero molto piacevole e, volente o nolente, non puoi proprio fare a meno di voler seguire le sue avventure.L'unico "difetto" se vogliamo proprio usare questa parole è che forse mi aspettavo di più a livello emozionale. Per quanto le vicende e i personaggi siano interessanti, il libro non è altro che semplice intrattenimento e non è stato in grado di suscitare in me delle particolari o profonde emozioni.

  • Akoss
    2019-01-24 16:54

    Jessica Lawson's writing is so good. It pulls you in the story and you are right there next to the characters, which means you totally forget you're reading/listening to a story.Becky's voice is loud, bold and full of mischief. Becky lives life as if there is no tomorrow and takes you on wilds and sometimes downright dangerous adventures.I also love how at the chore this is also a story about family and dealing with the passing of a very much loved one. I didn't want the story to end and kind of wished there was more Becky Thatcher adventures to look forward to.Definitely a must read for fans and non-fans of Tom Sawyer.

  • T
    2019-02-15 20:19

    A fun adventure told from another feisty, spunky, adventure-loving girl. Lawson imagines that perhaps Mark Twain (aka Sam Clemens) really was writing about the adventures and escapades of Becky Thatcher, not snot-nosed, tattle-tale, goodie-two-shoes Tom Sawyer. A funny alternate-"history" based on characters we recognize, but not a story we do. Becky Thatcher is determined to live up to the promise she made to her brother Jon before he died - to have the adventures he no longer can - and to get the attention of her grief-stricken mother.Fun and clever.

  • Todd
    2019-01-23 21:13

    Wow. I loved the concept, and while its not executed perfectly, it's close enough. I still can't wrap my head around that whole (view spoiler)[Jessica's Tom=Mark's Sid (hide spoiler)] personality thing.. but I whole-heartedly recommend this book for Twain fans... and well, humans in general.

  • Tami
    2019-02-02 14:56

    I liked a lot of moments in The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher. The author's decision to portray Becky Thatcher (the classic character from Mark Twain's Adventures of Tom Sawyer) as a bold and daring spitfire of a young girl in 19th Century America is perfect. Becky's character is well-defined and three-dimensional in thought and feeling. In Twain's classic she is a secondary figure--primarily a nuisance--to Tom Sawyer. She truly comes into her own in Lawson's re-imagining. Before the arrival of Becky and her family into town, her brother has died from illness and the way the author was able to weave in the struggle of Becky's mother with her grief--and Becky's frustration with it is skillfully done. it is this element in particular that allows the book to resonate to a greater degree with contemporary young readers than its predecessors.I enjoyed the way the author brought Sam Clemens (Mark Twain, himself) into the story as a character--even if it became forced in a couple of places. I was also delighted by the role of the Widow Douglas, which enhanced the scope of her character from the original Twain story. I do, however, have a BIG issue with the way Lawson has reversed the characters of Tom Sawyer and his cousin (brother in this version) Sid. It was unnecessary given that she kept two male characters with the exact same personality traits as in the original Tom Sawyer. The switching of Sid and Tom smacks of a disdain for Twain's work not found in the rest of Becky Thatcher. I am not opposed to reimagining a classic character in a new way as long as it serves the new story well. In this case it does not. I am disappointed that new readers may be introduced to Sid and Tom in this light--especially since Lawson thought enough of Twain's characters to change nothing but their names.My own disappointment aside, young readers with no exposure to Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer will not see a discrepancy in story where Sid and Tom are concerned. Particularly young female readers will love The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher. This might be a fun read-aloud in conjunction with a version of Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer both for the benefit of two good stories and the opportunity to discuss the differences in approach to character.If The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher sounds interesting, or you have already read & enjoyed it you may also like Lucy Maud Montgomery's classic Anne of Green Gables, Audrey Couloumbis' The Misadventures of Maude March and The Case of the Deadly Desperados (first in the P.K. Pinkerton series) by Caroline Lawrence (which also includes Samuel Clemens as an engaging character).

  • Becky Ginther
    2019-02-13 21:06

    I enjoyed reading Tom Sawyer when I was younger and as a fellow Becky I've always been partial to Becky Thatcher, so I was definitely interested in reading this book. It takes the characters from Tom Sawyer that you know but twists things around - kind of like those twisted fairy tale books that are really popular, but a twisted classic.In this version Becky is the mischievous troublemaker who loves going out on adventures, and Tom Sawyer is the goody two-shoes who always tattles on her. Sam Clemens plays a pretty big role in the story as well, and if you know much about Mark Twain you'll know that was his real name. Becky gets caught up in all sorts of adventures, including a "witchy bet" with the boys involving a recluse widow in town believed to be a witch, and some wanted grave robbers. In between all the adventuring there are some tough things that Becky has to deal with. Her brother, whom she was very close to, passed away a year ago. Becky likes to keep his memory alive by wearing his old clothes and carrying his marbles around, but her mother has fallen into a deep state of depression, not even coming out of her bedroom for most of the book. So Becky is dealing with not only a lost brother but a lost mother as well.I really liked this twist on the story. I thought Lawson did a good job capturing the same feel of the Tom Sawyer adventures. The characters were all fun. It was kind of neat trying to piece everything together from what you already know about what Mark Twain wrote, and the ending kind of summed it up (including the author's note) - (view spoiler)[the concept is that Mark Twain was inspired to write Tom Sawyer by the adventures in this book. He makes the main character Tom instead of Becky because he wants Tom to experience adventure, even if it is just in a book and not in real life. Plus Becky didn't want to be in the book so Mark Twain promised that "there wouldn't be any characters named Becky Thatcher who anyone would guess are based after you." Thereby creating the Becky Thatcher character but giving her the complete opposite personality. Becky's deceased brother Jon loved adventures and Twain promises to send him on more adventures through his stories, under the name Huckleberry. (hide spoiler)]I listened to the audiobook version of this story and I have to say that I thought they did an amazing job. The voices were great - they were full of personality with just enough southern twang. It was a really great listen and I enjoyed it a lot.

  • BAYA Librarian
    2019-02-17 18:59

    What if it was really a tomboyish Becky Thatcher – and not Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn – who actually had all the adventures? Lawson brings Becky, new “bosom” friend (not rival) of Amy Lawrence, to a Mississippi town a year after her brother Jon dies and just as writer and boat captain Samuel Clemens swings in. She guides Amy in the fine craft of waking up late, stalking the town “witch” to win a bet against some boys, and carefully avoiding (or escaping) the thieving Pritchard brothers.I liked Lawrence's inclusion of Samuel Clemens in the story, and would have loved to see more of him (and more references to historically accurate tidbits about him). I also enjoyed her inclusion of various characters' dealings with death and moving on. In addition to Becky's brother, Amy's mother had died recently; their “witch” was a widow recluse who failed to interact more because she was still to some extent mourning the loss of her husband; and Samuel Clemens himself had lost (both fictionally and in real life) a brother. Becky herself and her friendship with Amy came across as too shallow, however. I felt as though Becky were imposing her ideas onto their friendship, and Amy wasn't contributing that much – not because she didn't want to, but because Becky was dominant. Some friendships can have a dominant friend, but I wanted more out of this one. By writing a YA novel that is so directly inspired by Mark Twain's characters, Lawson automatically raises her readers' expectations (at least it did mine). Though I admittedly have not read Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn recently, I have read several other of Mark Twain's works within the last year, so I had high hopes for the depth and style I would find in this book. I was disappointed, perhaps because Lawson's work reads a lot like many other modern YA novels. While Lawson succeeded in recognizably imitating Twain's characters' language and tone, I was looking for more. I also am not as impressed as I could be by what is basically a female Tom/Huck dyad. I came out thinking that this sort of girl-does-guy-stuff-just-as-well-or-better-and-is-therefore-cool theme as an attempt at female equalization is too overdone, and not terribly successful here regardless.

  • Courtney
    2019-01-28 15:00

    Becky Thatcher is a cherry spittin', overall wearing, bold young girl who is as superstitious as she is a darn good friend. She throws spitballs at Tom Sawyer for being a goody-goody, and sneaks out of her house in the dead of night to meet the notorious Old Widow "witch" of the neighborhood. Known for her mischief, Becky has a promise to keep to her deceased brother Huckleberry: to go on wild adventures with his marbles in her pocket. But what happens when Becky's adventures meet the Pritchard Brothers, the infamous, grave robbing, murderous outlaws?This novel is ideal for middle graders, readers who like a strong female character, and for fans of Kate DiCamillo's Flora & Ulysses. This book features language that represents the Old-Timey Southern culture of the 1890's. Themes of loyalty, navigating grief, and being your true and honest self make their debut.An interesting twist on the American classics Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, this historical fiction novel introduces the so-called "real" versions of the people who inspired Mark Twain's stories. In this story, Tom Sawyer is the kid no one likes, because he is careful and tattles on everyone's mischievous fun. Mark Twain is a young writer on a steamboat, who goes on to write about the adventures the pure Tom Sawyer never had. Twain is awed by Becky Thatcher's fearlessness, and promises he will write a story about Huckleberry, so that her brother can live on to have the greatest adventure of all.

  • Angie
    2019-02-05 21:13

    Becky Thatcher has just moved to St. Petersburg, MO. The family is grieving the death of her brother Jon. Mrs. Thatcher has withdrawn almost completely from her family and Judge Thatcher has thrown himself into work. Becky is determined to honor her promise to Jon and have as many adventures as possible. She becomes friends with Amy Lawrence and Sid Sawyer almost immediately. She also makes an enemy of Tom Sawyer when he tattles on her and gets her in trouble. Becky takes part in a bet the boys have about who can steal something from the Widow Douglas who everyone believes is a witch. Trouble starts when Widow Douglas is accused of grave robbing. Becky and Amy know it was actually the notorious Pritchard Brothers who did the grave robbing and Becky decides she has to find a way to clear Widow Douglas's name. This was an interesting alternative preview to Mark Twain's books. Lawson takes a lot of aspects of the the Mark Twain and Huckleberry Finn stories and gives them a backstory. Sam Clemens himself is staying at the Widow Douglas' house while his steamboat is being repaired. He collects the stories around him for his future books. I liked the fact that a lot of the adventures Tom Sawyer ends up having in Twain's books are imagined as the adventures of Becky Thatcher. In this book, Tom Sawyer is a tattle tale and brown noser who has no friends whereas Becky is the adventurer who brings down the Pritchard Brothers. It was a nice twist.

  • Laura Schmigel
    2019-01-28 21:13

    Audio book. Becky's adventures are enjoyable for any fan of Mark Twain's tales of children growing up in and around the imaginary St. Petersburg, Missouri. Many of the children are quite different from Twain's characters, often swapping personalities. I waited long for the appearance of Huckleberry Finn and was satisfied with the results. Becky's family has moved to town in an attempt to leave behind the pain of her older brother Jon's death. Several of the characters deal quite honestly with similar pain, learning to give and receive comfort. Becky's lies have little consequence and she is as deeply superstitious as Tom and Jim in the early chapters of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." Mosquito bites are mentioned so frequently that I expected some kind of Chekhov's Gun; if so, it is never fired. Almost all of the characters are white. Slavery is never dealt with, as the one black domestic is a free woman, and there is no hint of the impending Civil War. The rollicking adventure is a good companion piece to "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and will spark discussion about the writer as observer. He keeps a notebook to record interesting details and well-turned phrases. Students and teachers alike will recognize the storytelling lesson he gives while substitute teaching.

  • melissa1lbr
    2019-01-30 22:23

    Things I Liked:I thought this was a really fun way to retell Tom Sawyer. Lawson has kind of flipped the story on its head and imagined what it might be like to have Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) seeing real people and writing them into a story, but getting things all muddled up. I love how Tom and Sid are pretty well switched up. Even though this kind of bothered me at first, it was fairly humorous. Also, I loved Becky. She was a handful and her adventures, as a girl in that time, were so great. She let us see just what girls could do and what they did even if they weren't supposed to. And it was nice to see a friendship with Amy in the story too. It was a clever plot and I liked it.Things I Didn't Like:At times it really stretched belief. I mean, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is kind of a story that stretches believability, but Becky Thatcher made it even more of a stretch. Her time in the cave with the bandits was just too much for me. Also, I was a bit bothered at first, as I mentioned, with the mixing up of characters and story and details. But, I ended up liking how Mark Twain would have seen and heard all of this and mixed it up for his own writing fun. Great retelling!Full review at One Librarian's Book Reviews.

  • Rachel
    2019-01-30 18:53

    Some of you might know who Tom Sawyer is. If you don't, you might at least recognize the name. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, a story about a young boy in St. Petersburg, Missouri, was written in 1876 by former steamboat pilot, Mark Twain. The author of this story, Jessica Lawson, takes the setting and characters from the original story and creates her own version of events. This is most often called 'fan fiction,' and it's something you can do with your favorite stories too! Especially if it's a world you just can't get out of your head! Well, in this version of Tom Sawyer, the author focuses on a different character, Miss Becky Thatcher. She's just moved to St. Petersburg, and she's out to prove herself. After all, she did promise her brother Jon that she'd have as many adventures as she could. And his being gone is no excuse not to follow through on that promise. It's not like she hasn't gotten in plenty of trouble already, what with sneaking out in the middle of night to invesigate her new town and all. So, she joins the boys in a bet to steal whatever they can from the Widow Douglas, who everyone suspects is the local witch. But after some midnight lurking in the local graveyard, Becky gets more adventure than she ever bargained for. Now if only she could get that tattletale Tom Sawyer to keep his mouth shut...

  • We Are All Mad Here
    2019-02-13 20:13

    Cute book, excellent idea, well executed."If I stay out any longer, people might start thinking I fell in the river and drowned. Miss Ada would be awful sad at my funeral. Come to think of it, not too many people get to see their own funeral. Might be worth an extra couple of days."His eyes twinkle. "Isn't that an idea? Visiting your own funeral." He took out his notebook and jotted something down.An imagined precursor to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher includes a young Samuel Clemens, taking notes and thinking he may just become a writer someday. Becky Thatcher provides his inspiration in a mostly predictable but still clever and entertaining series of adventures. Perhaps you need to be a fan of Mark Twain to particularly enjoy this story, but I am, and so I did. Thank you to Jessica Lawson, for reminding me.

  • Ms.Gaye
    2019-01-23 14:00

    When Simon & Schuster shared this ARC with me, I could hardly wait to get started...and it didn't disappoint! It was a delight - from the attractive and befitting cover to the hint of future risks and investigations on the last page!Becky Thatcher is the mischievous and spunky daughter of the newly appointed judge in St. Petersburg, MO, a town situated along the west bank of the Mississippi River. The year is 1860. Three days after arriving in town, Becky meets Sid Sawyer, Tom Sawyer’s half-brother. Becky is impressed by Sid but she wants nothing to do with Tom, the biggest tattle tale ever. Staying at the Sawyer’s is Sam Clemens, a river boat pilot waiting for a part to come in.The first paragraph sets the stage for the playful wording and entertaining adventures to follow. Hiding out by the river to spy on some men camped by a steamboat, Becky is annoyed by a “creeping skitter” and says, “Darn things had been a considerable nuisance since I settled myself along the Mississippi to have a look-see at the grounded steamboat and its crew. “ Lawson’s amusing style of language perfectly matches the original Tom Sawyer tales and her imagined adventures of Becky will make “…your lips tug up toward Heaven.” Great read-aloud. For grades 3-6.

  • LCL Children'S
    2019-01-25 19:19

    After her brother died, Becky's father, Judge Thatcher, decided that the family needed a new start in St. Petersburg, Missouri. The problem is, Becky's mother is still holding on to her grief, leaving Becky mostly to her own devices -- and Becky's response is to become to most audacious little scamp ever to roam the banks of the mighty Mississippi! From throwing spitballs to sneaking into a witch's house to tracking down wanted criminals, there's nothing Becky will stop at -- even when it puts her in considerable danger.I think young readers will have a lot of fun with this book, and those who have read Tom Sawyer will appreciate the clever way that this book comes together, as Becky's exploits amuse and inspire a stranded riverboat captain by the name of Sam Clemens. For myself, I'm afraid I found Becky hard to like, as her hijinks often seemed a little hard-hearted. There's no denying the humor of the book, nor that it touches on deeper issues of grief and family, so I would recommend this book, especially to readers who don't mind reading about a character who is not always likable. -MT

  • Carol Royce Owen
    2019-02-07 16:20

    I chose to read this book because it's on the Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fisher booklist for the 2015-2016 school year. As I often do, I got an audio version so I could listen to it while driving back and forth to school. I wanted to like this book, and usually the audios hold my attention, but unfortunately, this one did not. I got annoyed by the heavy southern accent of the reader, which often times reminded me of Dolly Parton in 9 to 5, but beyond that, I felt like this was just one more "fractured fairy tale" type story. Someone who decided that Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain must have had a model for the original Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, and maybe that was a girl. Actually, Tom Sawyer himself is made out to be a sissy of a boy, always trying to win points with the adults, especially the horrid teacher and his Aunt Polly, and is hated by all of the other kids. As for Becky Thatcher, herself, I didn't like her. She was vengeful, always planning a mean trick on anyone who crossed her, tricky, and always lying. The only warm part about her was her feelings towards her deceased brother, and the hurt she feels towards her depressed mother.

  • Kimberly
    2019-02-03 17:02

    This book is a fun-filled, rollicking romp of adventure! Wow! Becky Thatcher is one fearless, spunky, and quick on her feet kind of a girl and a tomboy through and through. She is also feisty, fun, compassionate, and struggling with the withdrawal of her mother from society, and from her, while dealing with the loss of her brother in the best way she knows how. The story takes place in the fall of 1860 and is the authors take on how Mark Twain's THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER could have been inspired. The story is not only a fabulous read for young and old and every age in between, the author connects the two stories perfectly and really makes you wonder if it could have happened this way. I loved reading about Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn as a young girl. THE ACTUAL & TRUTHFUL ADVENTURES OF BECKY THATCHER is an excellent read and I'm excited to add it to my collection. It's a book I will read again - I really hope Lawson has another adventure in the works for the adventurous and spirited Miss Becky Thatcher.

  • Robin Herrera
    2019-02-17 19:56

    Maybe you, like I, wondered about Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn when I read their respective adventures. Maybe you, like I, wondered why Tom Sawyer even showed up at the end of Huck's story. Maybe you, like I, would enjoy THE ACTUAL & TRUTHFUL ADVENTURES OF BECKY THATCHER.If you're also a fan of adventurous novels and unique voices, this book is definitely for you. As a fan of Mark Twain's original books, I enjoyed all the nods and hints that Lawson included throughout the book. I also liked the idea of Tom Sawyer being a tattletale - and that his character was still sympathetic. (Probably moreso than in the original!)What really impressed me was that this seemed like a book Mark Twain would have written. I could just imagine him writing himself into the story, and writing about how he interacted with the children, and making it seem as if the children were the real storytellers. As a companion to TOM SAWYER and HUCK FINN, BECKY THATCHER stands strong.

  • Chelsea Couillard-Smith
    2019-01-27 20:22

    In this reimagining of the classic Tom Sawyer story, Tom is relegated to the role of supporting character (and a suck-up tattletale at that) while spunky, adventurous Becky Thatcher, her friend Amy, and Tom's half-brother Sid embark on a series of small-town escapades. Debut author Lawson captures the spirit of Twain's original story and even his way with language while creating an accessible, engaging narrative for elementary school readers. Becky arrives with a detailed backstory and fully-realized personality, and the presence of a steamboat operator named Sam Clemens who is inspired by Becky's story makes for a satisfying connection to the original Tom Sawyer tale. Full of old-fashioned adventure and just the right amount of small-town quirk, it should have broad appeal with a wide range of young readers.