Lit Lemon Books

Harriet the Spy

Louise Fitzhugh

“When suddenly Harriet leaped to her feet as though she had just then remembered, and screamed, “I’ll be damned if I’ll go to dancing school.” “Harriet!” Mrs. Welsch was appalled. “How dare you use words like that at the table.” “Or any other place, dear,” interjected Mr. Welsch calmly.”

Screen Shot 2019-04-28 at 6.29.49 PM.pngAnother book of Time’s best 100 YA list. I am so happy to continue reading down this list! I have started to read the books out of order because I am borrowing them from my local library. From my understanding Harriet the Spy is a series, but each book could be read alone.

Harriet the Spy is a middle-grade book. The chapters are short and sweet but the story is not. Harriet ventures around her neighborhoods and snoops on her neighbors and friends pretending to be a spy and recording her findings in a notebook. She learns the struggles of living alone, caring for aging parents, growing up in poverty, the differences in lifestyles between socioeconomic classes, and adulthood as a whole. While she is discovering the ins and outs of growing up and life, her notebook of secrets is taken. Not only taken but read by her classmates. EVERYONE finds out what she has been up too.

Harriet’s life seems to be falling apart and she deals with like any young girl would–not well. Harriet is put on blast by her classmates, and her parents are not sure what to do. Through clever planning of Harriet’s mother, therapist, and school staff she is given an assignment to channel her writing skills. Harriet uses her talent to makes amends and learns to be a somewhat better person.

I was highly impressed with the complexity of this book, I am tempted to go on to read other books in this series. You are viewing the world through a sassy girl’s eyes, I couldn’t help but laugh at some of the notes Harriet kept in her notebook. Somethings simply never change, no matter how much time has passed since Harriet the Spy was written.

After reading Harriet the Spy, I understand why it is on Times best 100 YA list. Harriet is witty and the story deals with “heavy” issues that would make for great home or classroom discussions. Harriet the Spy is a great coming of age middle grade read, I recommend young and old give it a try.

If you are looking for a quick read, one that will make you think but not too hard, definitely check out Harriet the Spy. If you are looking for a realistic fiction book for a younger reader, look no further than Harriet the Spy. It was adapted into a movie in the 90s, you can watch the trailer here.

Have you read Harriet the Spy? Do you want too? Do you read young YA books like Harriet the Spy?

3 Replies to “Harriet the Spy”

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