Reviews

The All-American by Susie Finkbeiner

protagonistspub's review against another edition

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lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A

3.0

Fluffy -  many missed opportunities to delve deeper

authoramyearls's review against another edition

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5.0

I loved this book so much! I could not put it down. The characters were fantastic and the setting vivid enough to make me feel I was in 1952. I laughed, cried, and was left feeling deeply satisfied.

alshaw10210's review against another edition

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emotional funny inspiring sad fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

So, so good! Flew through this and can't wait to read other books by this author. 

farmfreshlisa's review against another edition

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4.0

I went into this book expecting it to be a book about Bertha. What I found was a book about two sisters experiencing the same family and time, but with very different perspectives. Bertha gives us the tomboy teenage view of how things go. Flossie gives us the pre-teen more bookworm/girly view of the same experiences.

The book goes back and forth between the two sisters--always labelled--as they experience the things going on in their life. Bertha's main dream is to be a baseball player for the professional girls leagues--not the image of an "all american girl" that is taught at school. Flossie just wants a friend who can accept her for who she is--a dreamer who lives in her books, but gets bullied frequently.

Everything changes for them when their dad (a famous author) is accused of being a Red--a member of the communist party. Suddenly their world flips upside down and they have to flee their town for their own safety...and that means leaving the beloved ball field and library behind.

The girls learn that dreams can happen anywhere and sometimes the things we think are the biggest trials in our lives, can ultimately bring us our dreams.

ps. this won't be a happily ever after. So be prepared. ;)

4 stars!

kimsackleh's review

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emotional sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

5.0

desertrose0601's review against another edition

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medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No

4.0

iamkallia's review against another edition

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emotional hopeful reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

leareads90's review against another edition

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emotional hopeful medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.5

melissasbookshelf's review against another edition

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5.0

The All-American was pure pull on your heartstrings enjoyment! It’s my first novel by Susie Finkbeiner and won’t be my last. She completely drew me into 1950’s Michigan when baseball was king and the Red Scare was at its height. Through the delightful narration of the two young Harding sisters, we experience their highs and lows in this heartfelt coming of age story.

Sixteen year old Bertha Harding’s classmates all dream of dating and marrying, but Bertha loves baseball. She plays with the boys and writes to a famous pitcher for the Sweet Peas, part of the All-American Girls Softball League. When her friend Leo begins to take an interest in her, she begins to awaken to the idea of first love.

Flossie’s eleven years old going on twelve, a bit small for her age, and a complete bookworm. As she struggles to find friends who appreciate her intelligence and wit, she finds comfort in her family and books. When her famous writer father is accused by a neighbor of being part of the Communist Party during the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings, the whole family’s world is turned upside down.

Facing threats, ostracism, and financial ruin, the family moves to the small town of Bear Run and stays with shy, Uncle Matthew. It’s the opportunity for second chances, new friends, and a tryout for the Sweet Peas softball team. But, when tragedy strikes, will their dreams survive?

I absolutely adored Bertha and Flossie! Their POV’s were so fun to read. I highly recommend the audiobook because the narrators do a fantastic job bringing both of these girls to life. The Harding sisters and their family are so charming from their proper English mother to the creative, fun-loving father, and caring older brother Chip. I loved getting to know them all including the quiet Uncle Matthew. Also loved Bertha’s loyal friend Leo.

Bertha shares her nostalgic view of 1950’s American baseball complete with CrackerJacks, Coca-Cola, and hotdogs. Flo shares her love of classic literature including Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, and even the Catcher in the Rye. I loved her take on Shakespeare.

It’s a fantastic juxtaposition of what it is to be quintessentially American with the Salem Witch Trial-like atmosphere of the Red Scare. The ending was at once tragic and hopeful. I loved the inspirational messages of faith subtly woven throughout the story. Definitely recommend to historical and Christian fiction fans. I received an advanced complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are completely my own and voluntarily given.

bonniereads777's review against another edition

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5.0

1952. Bertha Harding is a 16-year old girl living in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan with her parents and her sister Florence (Flossie). Her married brother visits often. Bertha’s dreams do not align with most other girls her age. She dreams of baseball and of playing for the Workington Sweet Peas, a team in the All-American Girls Baseball League. Her little sister Flossie dreams of books and writing, and frequently flees bullies. Overall, though, they live a sweet life in a close-knit neighborhood. But then their father is accused of being associated with the Communist Party by the Un-American Activities Committee. Overnight, life changes drastically and their family is hounded out of the neighborhood, relocating to a small town in Northern Michigan to start over.

What a powerful look at the American dream and what it means to be All-American! This novel is so well woven, with points of view switching mostly between Bertha and Flossie, with epistolary work in the form of letters and articles adding another element to the story. That feeling of knowing for sure what your life is about and who your friends are, and then having that pulled out from under you, is a punch in the stomach that the reader will experience along with the family. The American way of rebuilding and fighting back under stress and tremendous odds is also very evident in this book. A question the reader may ask is “Who is All-American?” Is it baseball player Bertha, reader and dreamer Flossie, or their father, the author William Harding, whose very patriotism has been challenged? The answer is all of the above. Richly layered, beautifully written, and oh, so American, this one shouldn’t be missed.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via The Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.