Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Great Reads for Teens: "Just Ella" by Annette K. Larsen

Cobbogoth, people are always asking me for good book suggestions for their teens, and so I've decided to share any diamonds that I find here on my blog :-)  When I get more organized, I will post a link of lists anyone can print for their own use, but in the meantime here's one to add to your collection:

I posted a while ago about collecting a list of great reads for strong girls.  I'm always looking for great YA books for my son, and to share with my daughter when I finally have one. ;-)  When I go speak to groups about

When I came across Just Ella by Annette K. Larsen, I knew I'd found a gem.  This book definitely goes on my "Great Reads for Girls" list.

Just Ella is up there with Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Levitte in memorableness for me.  I loved Ella.  She has probably just become one of the best YA heroines I've read in a long time.  She was flawed, but she was also very level-headed, sincere, and had a lot of depth.  I loved that she was able to feel some pretty deep, heart-wrenching emotions, but she didn't let them dictate her choices. She chose right even when it was excruciating, and I think that's why I liked her so much. 

In her Author's Note, Annette K. Larsen talked about how she was heavily influenced by Charolotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. Her reasons mirrored my own reasons for loving that book as much as I do. (Favorite novel of all time)  In my opinion there isn't a greater literary heroine than Jane Eyre.  There is a lot of the steady, infallible grace of Jane in Ella, and I think that's why I liked Ella so much.

The love story is also a squeaky clean, "real love" love story, which is yet another reason to love this novel. But don't worry, there are still plenty of heart-palpitating moments. ;-) Joking aside, I don't think there are enough of these kinds of love stories out there for girls to read about.  One of the things I loved so much about Jane Eyre, and the same quality can be found in Ella, as well, is that as much as they loved, they knew they wouldn't be truly loving if they went against their own conscience in order to be with the person they loved.  They were true to themselves and what they knew to be right, and therein were true to the men they loved.  That's a pretty big deal and a rare statement that doesn't get made often enough in today's literature, especially YA literature.

But I'm starting to soap box now, so I'm going to stop.  All in all, one of the best YA books I've read in a very long time.  Loved it!

Age Appropriate for: Girls 11-100 ;-)


  1. Hannah, Thank you so much for the wonderful review! I think I've read it before but couldn't remember if I commented on it. It's so gratifying to have people see Ella's strength of character. I think we need a lot more of that in fiction, especially in YA. Thanks again. -Annette

  2. You are SO welcome, Annette! It was my pleasure. I am always very happy to spread the word on an excellent story. Congratulations!