Monday, July 20, 2009

Welcome to La Beaux Plantation


Ami D'nae
Treble Heart Books (2009)
ISBN 9781932695977
Reviewed by McKenzie Tritt for Reader Views Kids (7/09)


"Welcome to La Beaux Plantation" by Ami D'nae begins with Elizabeth Hausman and her mother moving to the La Beaux plantation after her father passed away. Little is known about her past life, besides the fact that she was a typical teenage girl who got into a bit of trouble with the boys.  Elizabeth was none too happy about the move, but her mother wanted a better life for the both of them.  When they arrive they are greeted by Mrs. La Beaux, the plantation owner, and Ben, Mrs. La Beaux's son. Elizabeth is instantly attracted to Ben. Next she meets Virginia, Mrs. La Beaux's daughter, and her friend Julia. Both are rambunctious girls with plenty to talk about. Elizabeth must begin to adjust to the slow, easy life of the plantation and, along the way, begin home school and etiquette lessons.


At first, Elizabeth has a tough time coming to terms with her new life and its slow pace. But through Ben and her new friends she quickly learns to adjust. She begins piano lessons, as well as horseback riding, and her grades improve quickly. Elizabeth also takes on confirmation classes and lessons on how to become a lady. She learns to love the simple things in life and she begins to appreciate her mother more than ever. She would be unrecognizable to her old friends. Elizabeth is pleased with the changes she has made and cannot imagine returning to her old life.


Tragedy then strikes the plantation, and its members must learn to rely on each other. In this time, Ben and Elizabeth develop a deeper bond and the line between friendship and something more begins to blur. Elizabeth wants more, but she doesn't want to mess up their perfect friendship. Mrs. La Beaux turns to Ben and Elizabeth for help, and they begin planning for Thanksgiving and the winter ball. These events lead up to the cotillion, in which Elizabeth will be announced and receive her class ring, and graduation, where Ben will be free to go off to college and pursue his interests. There are still many issues to resolve, however, before those happen, one of the biggest being where Elizabeth and Ben's relationship stands.


I loved this book! It may have been slow for some, but I loved its characters and its history. I could imagine the entire book in my head as I went along. The characters were all so lively and each was different. Their Southern charm had me smiling the whole time. "Welcome to La Beaux Plantation" had me laughing at times, sad at others. It was much better than the majority of young adult books today. I've never read anything similar to it. Most of the time, I wanted to be in Elizabeth's place and experience her lovely life. I only had a couple of problems with this book. First, it didn't follow the back cover description. The events mentioned there were incredibly minor in the storyline, such as the mysterious girl named Kasi. Those occurrences were never explained, but maybe they will be in later books. My second complaint is that there are quite a few grammar mistakes in this book. I expect published books to have good grammar and flow easily, but many times I had to reread parts because there was an extra word placed in a sentence or a word was spelled incorrectly. Other than that, however, I loved the book. It was full of charm and elegance. I would recommend "Welcome to La Beaux Plantation" by Ami D'nae to all teens, and even those a bit younger. There was no bad content, just a good book about family and how important it is. I can't wait for more La Beaux Plantation books. I'll read them for sure, and so should you, right after you finish the first in this great series.