Our Only May Amelia by Jennifer L Holm Historical Fiction Book Review


Holm, Jennifer L. Our Only May Amelia. HarperCollins Children’s Books. New York, NY. 1999.

Plot Summary

May Amelia Jackson is considered a miracle. She is the first female born into her family. With seven older brothers, May Amelia grows up forgetting most of the time that she’s even a girl. She ends up being in a lot of trouble. To the point that her family starts putting pressure on her to become a Proper Young Lady.  She starts to realize that she is treated differently than her brothers. While May Amelia loves it, she hopes that her mother, who is pregnant again, will give birth to another girl so she’s not the only one.

Critical Analysis

 This book was really good. It was a fast paced book. There’s some wonky capitalization that I realize is the character’s voice, but is distracting as a reader. There’s also no quotations around dialogue, which is very annoying. I’m not sure if that was done on purpose (and if so, what purpose it served) or if it’s bad editing.

It’s historically accurate in that families were large, there were typically more males born than females, and children died often and frequently.

I do like the character May. I like her free spirit and her can do attitude. She can do anything a boy can, and shows it. I think it’s a great book for little girls to read. They could always do with more girl power.

Review Excerpts

Newbery Honor 2000

From Publishers Weekly: “Readers will fall in love with May Amelia’s spirited nature; when she saves her brothers from a cougar, she tells them, “I reckon it’s a Darn Good Thing I’m not a Proper Young Lady or you’d be a cougar’s supper right about now.” This novel is not to be missed.”

From Booklist: “The author bases her story on her aunt’s real diary, so the everyday details of life among Finnish immigrants add a nice specificity to the background, and May is appealingly vivacious. However, the lack of quotation marks, the overuse of certain expressions (among them, “indeed”), the length, and sometimes slow pacing may make this a secondary purchase.”


Other books by Jennifer L Holm:

Sunny Side Up ISBN 0545741661

Penny from Heaven ISBN 0375836896

Turtle in Paradise ISBN 037583690X

Other Historical Fiction books:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak ISBN 0375842209

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys ISBN 014242059X

I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Majorie Agosin ISBN 1416994025


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Adrinna Davis

Hello there! Not much to me, I'm just your average author and librarian who is obsessed with Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Merlin, Divergent, ect... who is married with two kids. :) And now blogger. I love children's lit and want to share with you all the amazing books I find!

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