February 28, 2012

Book Review: May B by Caroline Starr Rose

Title: May B
Author: Caroline Starr Rose
Published: January 2012

I've known it since last night:It's been too long to expect them to return. Something's happened.
May is helping out on a neighbor's Kansas prairie homestead—just until Christmas, says Pa. She wants to contribute, but it's hard to be separated from her family by 15 long, unfamiliar miles. Then the unthinkable happens: May is abandoned. Trapped in a tiny snow-covered sod house, isolated from family and neighbors, May must prepare for the oncoming winter. While fighting to survive, May's memories of her struggles with reading at school come back to haunt her. But she's determined to find her way home again. Caroline Starr Rose's fast-paced novel, written in beautiful and riveting verse, gives readers a strong new heroine to love.

My Thoughts

You know how once in a while you read a book that really touches your heart?  May B did that.  In its seemingly simpleness (notice I said “seemingly” – more on that in a moment) May B reached out and wrapped itself –herself – around my heart.  As a girl that grew up loving Little House on the Prairie – reading and rereading them countless times, reading May B was almost like getting together with an old friend.  Not so much the writing style but more the character of May and how much she reminded me of the character of Laura.  Both stubborn and tough.  Smart and resourceful.  I honestly believe they could’ve been friends had they ever met.  The number of times I reread about Laura put her firmly in my heart, but May – she was put there in one reading.  Her courage and determination nestled its way in without taking no for an answer! Not that I would’ve said no to her mind you.  Here was a young girl left alone with no way of knowing when anyone would ever return.  Yet she never panicked and never gave up.  She just let her natural stubbornness come in and help! I just loved her.  I guess you should know that my family has always said that I’m extremely stubborn.  Maybe that’s why I loved May so – because I saw some of me in her.  Although I do not thing I would’ve been as brave as her. 

Now about that “seemingly” part.  Caroline Rose Starr put May so firmly in my heart using verse.  Yes if you didn’t know May B is a novel told in verse.  So she didn’t use long descriptive passages or lots of inter-musings of May’s.  Instead Caroline Rose Starr painted her in the purest of lines and in the fewest of words.  It seemed effortless.  It seemed simple. But I know that when working within verse every word was placed so precisely with complete care and thought.  And I knew this to be true because it never once faltered or stuttered.  Instead it flowed out and into the reader grasping them with its charm and May’s quiet determination.  What an amazing book. 

I guess I could say more – but I feel like spewing word after word about it would almost take away from the simple beauty of it.  Instead I encourage you to read it and see for yourself.

Final thought: Simplicity at its best
Best stick with you image: the vastness of the land around her
Best for readers who: are willing to read verse and who love strong girl characters
Best for ages: 11+

For the guys? yes if you can get them to read verse


  1. So agree with your review. I don't read books in verse but I loved May B. So excited for Caroline.

  2. If the book is well-written, and May B is, I don't notice it's in verse after the first few chapters. I've read other books in verse, such as Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. And I didn't notice the "verse" after I was drawn into the story. I think writing in verse takes special talent, and Caroline Starr Rose did an amazing job.

  3. The premise sounds fantastic, but the "verse" part really scares me away.