Author: Karen Cushman
The girl simply called "Brat" has never known a home or family, barely managing to survive on scraps in the medieval English village where she lives. When a village midwife finds Brat hiding in her barn, the sharp-tongued woman sees an opportunity for cheap labor and — renaming the girl Beetle — allows her to stay. Though this new life is hard, Beetle quickly takes to it, slowly making a place for herself, adopting a stray cat, and even befriending one of the village boys who taunt her. Secretly, she watches the midwife and slowly learns her jealously guarded secrets, gradually gaining knowledge, confidence and the courage to want something more out of life. Renaming herself Alyce, she sets out to prove herself, only to fail. Is she as stupid and worthless as others say or can she find the strength to try again? A funny, poignant tale of self worth and the difficulty of making choices, this paperback edition features an introduction by two-time Newbery Medalist, Lois Lowry.