Hellie Jondoe
by Randall Platt

Winner, Willa Award for Children's/Young Adult Fiction & Nonfiction, 2010.

Texas Tech University Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-896-72663-5.
Reviewed by Becca Taylor
Posted on 02/12/2010

Fiction: Historical; Teen/Girls

Set in 1918, Hellie Jondoe tells the story of a headstrong young orphan trapped in a series of events beyond her control. Hellie and her brother are orphaned at a young age, and forced to live on rough and tumble city streets. Hellie learns early on that you can't trust anyone, perhaps not even your family. After their gang turns on Hellie and her brother, Hellie is put on an orphan train heading west. During her journey, Hellie is saddled with two orphans who come to rely on her for protection. Upon arrival in Oregon, Hellie and her companions discover they've been indentured for three years, giving Hellie authority figures and a home for the first time in her life. Despite a rough start on the ranch, she comes to realize that she's also gained an extended family.

I loved reading Hellie's story. Randall Platt brings the period and region alive through her imagery and dialogue. It's so easy to identify with the characters and celebrate their growth during the story. Best of all, I love finding wholesome, engaging stories about young women who embrace the value of their own truths.

Randall Platt writes fiction for adults and young adults—and those who don't own up to being either. A lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest, she is the author of the Fe-As-Ko series of humorous westerns for adults as well as award-winning novels for younger readers. Visit her website.

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