Thursday, 19 July 2012

Finishing Becca: A Story About Peggy Shippen and Benedict Arnold

Traitors among us...
Peggy Shippen is everything Becca is not--a beautiful, rich spoiled Quaker daughter whose life revolves around the whirlwind society of 1778 Philadelphia.  Fourteen-year-old Becca is poor, and in order to complete her education, she's signed on as Peggy's personal maid.

But working for Peggy, Becca gets an education in deceit and treachery.  The conniving socialite has set her sights on Benedict Arnold, and Becca can only watch in horror as Peggy manipulates Arnold to turn traitor and join forces with the crown against the revolutionary Americans.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Who Recommended it To Me: No one really, just stumbled upon it one day
Who I Would Recommend it To: YA book lovers who are looking for something new and different.
The day I bought this book was one of those days that I kept staring and staring at the YA section of the bookstore and every book looked the same and none of them interesting.  Usually I just can't get enough of YA books but that day I was looking for something new, something different from the books that I usually read. Well I was right. This book was certainly different from most of the books I have read in my YA-obsessed years.
      For some reason the day I bought it I was in the mood for some good historical fiction.  I sifted through the layered shelves of the bookstore with my mom, who (unlike most moms) has a keen eye for good young adult books and seems to always know when I'll like a book and when I will not.  Some of the books I read she looks at with horror/disgust, but most of the time she has a good eye for YA books and scrapes up something I more or less enjoy.  While I did this my mom stumbled upon this author--Ann Rinaldi--read the blurb and handed it to me.  I looked at it, it seemed interesting enough so I decided to buy it.
      Anyway, about the book! I found this book really interesting because while the main protagonist and her family are fictional characters, some of the characters are real. I didn't realize this until about halfway through the book, when I was looking at the cover and the part of the title that said "A Story About Peggy Shippen and Benedict Arnold" made it sound like these characters were real, so I Google searched them and guess what? They are. I liked how the author combined her imagination with real historical figures and blended them together to create a good story-line.
    Another thing that I noticed was that while the story was told by Becca, she didn't seem to be the main character.  All through the book the main focus seemed to be on Peggy.  Becca made many observations on Peggy's character but in the end it was mostly left to the reader to determine what they thought about Peggy.  I for one didn't like her at all.  Her spoiled behavior and the way she acted in general were enough to make me want to hurl.  I guess it's a good lesson for people because it will show them how spoiled children are terrible.  Anyhow, I really didn't like Peggy but liked her sisters a lot, especially Elizabeth. I liked her rebellious attitude from the start--the way that she dressed like a "boy" and that was rebellious back then--and the way she laughed in Peggy's face when Peggy was being a spoiled little princess. I couldn't help but like what Rinaldi did to enhance her character.
     There were a lot of historical books by this author in the section of the bookstore, but this one caught my interest because of the title--"Finishing Becca".  I had no idea what it meant by "finishing" and how it could apply to finishing a girl. So I decided to read it to find out.  To all of you who are thinking about reading this book, it was about getting "finished" (sort of an old fashioned term).  Getting finished usually involved going to school for young girls but since Becca either couldn't afford finishing school or couldn't go to it, she works as a maid to Peggy to get "finished", which apparently consists of: learning how to paint watercolors, learning to speak and understand French, and being able to dance properly.  While these things seem frivolous to girls in 2012 they were actually quite important in 1778.
   Why, might you ask, did you not rate it 5 stars?  Well if you know me, YOU know that I never like books to be boring.  I like them to be packed with nonstop action, and this book slowed down at times and after a while I would flip through a couple of pages and see what chapter looked interesting, and then I would "skip" to the chapter (skim the book really fast until I got to the good part).  All books have their slow parts, right?
   I'd recommend this book to you if you are an avid YA reader who is looking for a different kind of YA book and appreciates historical fiction and historical writing.


  1. Hey! I've tagged you for the Would You Rather...? tag! To learn more visit my blog

  2. Found you on goodreads via Addicted to YA.New follower.Would love a follow back.

    Thanks in advance!
    Nobonita@Daydreaming Bookworm

  3. Didn't know where else to put this. Congrats I nominated you for the Liebster Blog award!
    The list is on the link go check it out!

    I love your blog thanks so much for the follow

    1. Thanks for the nomination! I've already been nominated a couple times already but thanks so much, that means so much to me. Your blog is awesome too! :)


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