THE HIRED GIRL by Laura Amy Schlitz is an engaging work of historical fiction aimed at tweens.
Set in 1911, fourteen-year old Joan runs away from her oppressive home in rural Pennsylvania hoping to reinvent herself as a hired girl in the city of Baltimore. Pretending to be an eighteen-year-old named Janet Lovelace, she lands a job as a housekeeper in a Jewish home. As she strives to learn more about her Catholic heritage, she also becomes familiar with Jewish tradition.
Most young readers will enjoy the conversational style of the diary format. With a hint of flirty romance and a focus on period clothing, librarians will find that the book is of more interest to girls than boys. However, it will have a wide readership among youth who enjoy reading the classics and are attracted to a protagonist who has a passion for reading.
Many works of fiction for youth avoid conversations about religion, however this novel is filled with thought-provoking discussions of culture, philosophy, and religion including concerns about anti-semitism and the role of religion in society.
Published by Candlewick on September 8, 2015.