3 Star rating
The Youngest One
By Nancy Springer
ISBN# 9781611875881

Brought to you by OBS reviewer J.M.


Jessie is tired of dealing with her drunk mother and life in a rough part of town, and when a creepy woman approaches her one morning and advises her to pay attention to Shakespeare’s As You Like It in her English class she shrugs off the recommendation. After all, what relevance does Shakespeare have with her life? A chance encounter with an unusual toad, however, is about to completely alter Jessie’s perceptions of what matters in the world, and might just provide her with an unexpected happily-ever-after. (


This short story was a great thought provoking read. Springer creates a connection between her reader and the lead character, Jessie. She accomplishes this connection within the first few lines. I found myself concerned for the young, teenage girl when I read…

“Jessie went to school only because she was hungry.”

This allowed me to know that the teenager’s life at home was less than desirable. The story continues and the reader progresses through the teenager’s daily struggles. It is then we hear the words of an old quirky woman to pay attention and remember Shakespeare’s As You Like It and we can understand that there is more depth to this story than just the words on the page. This young woman will have a chance to change her misfortune, that is, if she can recognize the opportunity. The question is does she notice or not? You will have to read to find out!