Out of the Dust – Read It and Rate It

Out of the Dust
by Karen Hesse
Historical Fiction
Novel in Verse

Review #1
* * Stars (Just ok)
“Out of the Dust” by Karen Hesse tells the story of Billie Jo, a young girl growing up in Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl. Through a series of free-verse poems, Billie Jo narrates her struggles with the harsh environment, the death of her mother, her physical and emotional scars, and rebuilding her life and family back together. As Billie Jo navigates these challenges, she learns about resilience, hope, and the possibility of new beginnings.

Karen Hesse’s style of telling the story through Billie Jo is amazing. In addition, the novel offers insight into family life and hardships during the Great Depression. However, the verse format left much to be desired in the story. The poetic style made it difficult to connect deeply with the characters and their experiences. Due to the verse format, the emotional aspect of the novel felt muted. If you want to learn about the hardships during the Great Depression, this book is for you. For middle school teens.

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