May B Caroline Starr Rose Book Review

Raise your hand if you are too scared to try a book in verse, but are still curious. May B by debut author Caroline Starr Rose is a great primer for free verse. May B is a middle grade book and only 240 pages, comprised of an incredibly compelling survival story.

May B, Book Cover, Caroline Starr Rose, Snow, Blue

May B

May B, short for Mavis Betterley, is sent by her parents to live as a servant in a soddy (sod house) owned by the Oblingers. May B is overcome by homesickness and is missing her brother Hirim. She is knocked down a peg or two by cruel Mrs. Oblinger who calls May an idiot basically, because of May’s trouble reading (what we know as dyslexia today). Anyways, May finds herself alone and having to survive the winder by herself in the soddy.

I thought May B’s responses to being left alone and surviving through the winter were realistic. She spends a lot of time remembering and wishing for better times, but also thinking about food. What person wouldn’t in May B’s position? We don’t really hear or read anything about May B’s friends, but as this is set during Westward Expansion – I think people back then were more focused on their families and surviving on the prairie. May has realistic skills that I think were essential to her time period.

If you like an imperfect heroine, stories of courage and survival – of persistence when everyone says you can’t – May B by Caroline Starr Rose may be the right book for you.

Disclosure: Review copy received via Netgalley.

Other reviews of May B by Caroline Starr Rose:

Things Mean A Lot
The Book Monsters
Bibliophilic Monologues

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Dude, yes! May B. was my first verse book (I’ve always been too scared) and I loved it! It definitely made me realize the beauty in it and now I want to read more!

    Plus the storyline was awesome and I was really, really impressed with May B.’s bravery and determination.

    Great review, April! I hope more people check this book out.

  2. I’ve started seeing this one all around, but wasn’t sure what it would be about. It sounds like a good story — I grew up in a small town (my family still has their sod house that was homesteaded on the corner of our property!) so this sounds like a good book for when I’m homesick 🙂

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  3. This was scary, man. Imagine being stuck inside a shack in the dead of winter with no food and wild animals out there wanting to munch on you? I think what’s worse is that she was forgotten. I thought the novel was well done.

  4. I do love a survival story. And I’ve seen this one in the hands of several of my students, who said it was good. I think if I were trapped in a remote cabin like that, I’d be dreaming about food (as well as my family, of course).

  5. I definitely agree with you! This one was short and very captivating.

    Plus, almost nothing gets to me faster than people suffering from (undiagnosed) dyslexia in historical novels. I just read a romance novel and the hero suffered from it. Sigh.

  6. I love verse novels. I’ve read a Lisa Schroeder book and I love me some Ellen Hopkins 4-eva.

    I have this one from NetGalley. I totally need to get on it. It’s coming soon, I promise. Glad you liked it. I’ve read mixed reviews so far.

  7. This sounds super interesting. May have to go in search of this one.

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