Echo Could Kick Katniss Everdeen’s Butt

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Every year I show True Grit (2010) to my high school sophomores during our unit on the hero. It is a very popular activity. Charles Portis is from our state, and we are only an hour away from Fort Smith and Oklahoma where the story takes place, so it is a setting our students connect with. There is even an old man up on the mountain outside of our town named Rooster Cogburn, which I always have to explain is just a coincidence. They rarely believe me.
Every year, kids want to read the book and then they ask me what to read next. My answer? Ride the River by Louis L’Amour. It is the fifth in the Sacketts series, but it can absolutely stand alone. It has a strong, determined, and smart female protagonist, and she is a delight to read. She could take on Katniss Everdeen and win. This country girl can survive!

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Ride the River Louis L’Amour
Paperback, 192 pages Available in print and for Kindle
Published June 1st 1983 by Bantam

Goodreads Summary
In Ride the River, Louis L’Amour spins the tale of a young woman who has to protect her family fortune from a murderous thief and teach him what it means to be a Sackett. Sixteen-year-old Echo Sackett had never been far from her Tennessee home—until she made the long trek to Philadelphia to collect an inheritance. Echo could take care of herself as well as any Sackett man, but James White, a sharp city lawyer, figured that cheating the money from the young girl would be like taking candy from a baby. If he couldn’t hoodwink Echo out of the cash, he’d just steal it from her outright. And if she put up a fight? There were plenty of accidents that could happen to a country girl on her first trip to the big city.

What? You haven’t read True Grit?!

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True Grit Charles Portis
Paperback, 224 pages. Available on Kindle
Published December 31st 2002 by Overlook TP (first published 1968)

Mattie Ross, 14, from Dardanelle, Arkansas, narrates half a century later, her trip in the winter of 1870s, to avenge the murder of her father. She convinces one-eyed “Rooster” Cogburn, the meanest available U.S. Marshall, to tag along, while she outdickers and outmaneuvers the hard-bitten types in her path.

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About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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