Hand, Cynthia, et. al. My Calamity Jane. New York: HarperTeen, 2020.
ISBN-13: 978-0062652812 | $18.99 USD | 544 pages | YA Historical Fiction
Hold on to your hats: The authors who brought you the New York Times bestseller My Plain Jane, which Booklist praised as “delightfully deadpan” (starred review) and Publishers Weekly called “a clever, romantic farce” (starred review), are back with another irreverent historical adventure.
Welcome to 1876 America, a place bursting with gunslingers, outlaws, and garou—better known as werewolves.
And where there are garou, there’re hunters: the one and only Calamity Jane, to be precise, along with her fellow stars of Wild Bill’s Traveling Show, Annie Oakley and Frank “the Pistol Prince” Butler.
After a garou hunt goes south and Jane finds a suspicious-like bite on her arm, she turns tail for Deadwood, where there’s talk of a garou cure. But rumors can be deceiving—meaning the gang better hightail it after her before they’re a day late and a Jane short.
In this perfect next read for fans of A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, bestselling authors Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton bring their signature spark to the side-splittin’, whopper-filled (but actually kind of factual?) tale of Calamity Jane.
Unlike the first two books, I wasn’t as familiar with the historical figures or setting of My Calamity Jane, so that may have impacted my investment.
Stylistically, I had just as much fun reading it, cracking up several times, particularly with the fun asides the authors inserted into the text, breaking the fourth wall and inserting wacky anachronisms.
Calamity Jane, Frank, and Annie are objectively great characters, and I enjoyed their hijinks to an extent, but, without a real frame of reference for them and finding Westerns a bit hit-or-miss as a genre in general, I found something missing.
While this book is a bit of a disappointment to me, I think it’s only because of the nature of these books and how they play with history, so those who know the figures or stories involved would likely enjoy it more. I do still love what these three authors do together and I hope this isn’t the last time they collaboratively “ruin” our history.
Cynthia Hand is the New York Times bestselling author of several books for teens, including the UNEARTHLY trilogy, THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE, MY LADY JANE (with fellow authors Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows), THE AFTERLIFE OF HOLLY CHASE, MY PLAIN JANE (also with Ashton and Meadows) and THE HOW AND THE WHY. Before turning to writing for young adults, she studied literary fiction and earned both an M.F.A. and a Ph.D. in fiction writing (but don’t call her Dr. Hand, because that’s a cartoon super villain.) She currently resides in Boise, Idaho, with a husband who loves typewriters as much as she does, two cats, two kids, a crazy puppy, and an entourage of imaginary friends. Find her at www.cynthiahandbooks.com or @CynthiaHand on Twitter.
Brodi Ashton is the author of the EVERNEATH trilogy. and DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY with Balzer and Bray and MY LADY JANE and MY PLAIN JANE with HarperTeen. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Utah and a master’s degree in international relations from the London School of Economics. Brodi has an active following on her blog, which can be found at www.brodiashton.blogspot.com. She lives in Utah with her family. Follow her on Twitter at @brodiashton.
Jodi Meadows wants to be a ferret when she grows up and she has no self-control when it comes to yarn, ink, or outer space. Still, she manages to write books. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy, the ORPHAN QUEEN Duology, and the FALLEN ISLES Trilogy (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen), and a coauthor of MY LADY JANE and MY PLAIN JANE (HarperTeen). Visit her at www.jodimeadows.com
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