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The Trouble with May Amelia

Page history last edited by Argie O'Shea 11 years, 12 months ago


The Trouble with May Amelia


Jennifer L. Holm


book cover, The Trouble with May Amelia

Historical fiction


Subjects you'll come across in this book:


  • frontier life
  • Finnish Americans
  • gender roles
  • family relationships
  • brothers & sisters
  • Washington State, 1900
  • resilience



Living with her seven brothers, her mother, and her stern father who thinks girls are useless, 12-year-old May Amelia intends to prove her usefulness.  She works hard to help her family on their land during a tough year in Washington State in 1900.  She also hopes to earn her father's respect when a enterprising businessman offers to buy their cash-strapped settlement and make them and their neighbors rich.



  • "Holm gets her heroine just right.  Narrating events in dryly witty, plainspoken first-person, this indomitable teen draws readers in with her account, through which her world comes alive."[1]


  • "May Amelia doesn’t spare us any of the harsh realities of her life, but she doesn’t skimp on the victories or the sweet moments, either.  In the end, she’s a few steps closer to knowing that it’s okay to be herself, even if there’s no one else quite like her."[2]



Of note: 

  • 204 pages, published in 2011
  • Sequel to Our Only May Amelia (1999), but each book can stand alone.
    • You'll still understand The Trouble with May Amelia even if you haven't read Our Only May Amelia.
    • The author explains enough about the characters and events in the first book for readers to know what's going on.
  • Written in first-person from the main character's point of view
    • Some of the plot incidents are from the real-life of the author's great-grandfather and grandfather
  • Includes some Finnish phrases that the author explains



Jennifer L. Holm



If you like The Trouble with May Amelia, you might also enjoy other historical fiction by Jennifer L. Holm:

  • Turtle in Paradise (2011-2012 Black-Eyed Susan nominee)
  • Our Only May Amelia
  • Boston Jane (trilogy)


Holm also writes other popular books: 

  • Babymouse (series, with Matthew Holm)
  • The Stink Files (series)



Chapters, The Trouble with May Amelia



  1. Kirkus Reviews, https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/jennifer-l-holm/trouble-may-amelia/#review
  2. Damsels in Distress, http://damselsinregress.wordpress.com

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