Readers may remember the Betsy-Tacy books for the younger set, with larger print, a different illustrator, and less complicated sentence structure. As Betsy grows older, the style of the books becomes more sophisticated. There is one book for each year that Betsy is in high school, and Heaven to Betsy is an account of Betsy's freshmen year. The books have the feel of a first person narrative because the stories are semi-autobiographical. Some editions have end sections describing the real people that inspired the fictional citizens of Deep Valley, Minnesota.
Betsy Ray enjoys an enviable high school experience. She goes everywhere with the “crowd,” a group high school kids who sing, make fudge, waltz, and cheer together at football games. During the course of the year Betsy becomes unbearably jealous when her friend Bonnie wins the affection of the tall, dark Tony Marco, on whom Betsy had set her sights. She is frustrated that her male friends see her as someone to tease playfully rather than date, and cannot understand her best friend's disinterest in the dating scene. Despite her obvious popularity, Betsy is plagued by self-doubt and tends to over-extend her social life for fear of ceding her place. Her conflicting ambitions of being a social success and being a writer come to a head when she is nominated to represent her class in the annual high school essay contest.
This report prepared by Katy Pape