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The Night She Won Miss America
Cover of The Night She Won Miss America
The Night She Won Miss America
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A reluctant Miss Delaware gets swept up in the glamor of the 1950 Miss America pageant, where she finds friendship and love-with unexpected, tragic results.
Betty Jane Welch reluctantly enters the Miss Delaware contest to make her mother happy, only to surprisingly find herself the judges' choice. Just like that, she's catapulted into the big time, the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City.
Luckily, her pageant-approved escort for the week is the dashing but mercurial Griffin McAllister, and she falls for him hard. But when the spirited Betty unexpectedly wins the crown and sash, she finds she may lose what she wants most: Griff's love. To keep him, she recklessly agrees to run away together. From the flashy carnival of the Boardwalk to the shadowy streets of Manhattan to a cliffside mansion in gilded Newport, the chase is on as the cops and a scrappy reporter secretly in love with the beauty queen threaten to unravel everything-and expose Griff's darkest secret.

A reluctant Miss Delaware gets swept up in the glamor of the 1950 Miss America pageant, where she finds friendship and love-with unexpected, tragic results.
Betty Jane Welch reluctantly enters the Miss Delaware contest to make her mother happy, only to surprisingly find herself the judges' choice. Just like that, she's catapulted into the big time, the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City.
Luckily, her pageant-approved escort for the week is the dashing but mercurial Griffin McAllister, and she falls for him hard. But when the spirited Betty unexpectedly wins the crown and sash, she finds she may lose what she wants most: Griff's love. To keep him, she recklessly agrees to run away together. From the flashy carnival of the Boardwalk to the shadowy streets of Manhattan to a cliffside mansion in gilded Newport, the chase is on as the cops and a scrappy reporter secretly in love with the beauty queen threaten to unravel everything-and expose Griff's darkest secret.

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  • Kirkus

    February 15, 2017
    A young woman feels the heavy burden of a coveted crown.Betty Jane Welch had no desire to compete in the Miss America pageant. But after accepting her mother's bribe of her absolute favorite lemon cake, she felt she was at least obligated to participate in 1949's Miss Delaware scholarship pageant. Though everyone around Betty sees her potential, she is unable to even fathom the possibility of making it past the first round of the competition. As her beauty, talent at the harp, and sharp wit move her swiftly up the ranks, it's what happens behind the scenes at the pageant that offers the most surprises. Upon meeting her escort, John Griffin "Griff" McAllister, Betty is equally charmed and confounded by the strikingly handsome young man. His temperament flip-flops throughout their first encounter, with him appearing bored and then thoroughly smitten often in the same breath. Griff whisks her away from the strict rules of the pageant system, and while Betty does notice some quirks in his character--those rapid mood swings, his incessant mumbling--she brushes them aside as nothing. When Betty wins the title, Griff pulls away from her, citing the stress of being known as Miss America's boyfriend. Overcome by the pressure of the tiara, Betty turns to Griff and is willing to give it all up to be with him. What results is the wild tale of a disgraced pageant winner and a story that reporter Bronwyn McCall is anxious to uncover more than 60 years later. Early in her pageant experience, Betty muses that "Miss America does odd things to people." Clearly, she had no idea. Callahan (Searching for Grace Kelly, 2015) creates a story that is brisk-paced and fluid. Characters like Betty's roommate Ciji and reporter Eddie Tate add depth and emotion to the story. Though Callahan's heroine achieved what many could only dream of, she lacked the capacity to define her own life as a 19-year-old. Luckily, the novel offers her time.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    March 1, 2017

    Gr 9 Up-In 1950, Betty Jane Welch reluctantly joins the Miss Delaware contest to appease her mother. When she wins, she is sent to Atlantic City for the Miss America competition. Once she arrives, she is paired with a dreamy pageant-approved escort, Griffin McAllister, and makes a new friend in the competition, Miss Rhode Island, Ciji. For the first time in her life, Betty starts breaking the rules, going out, drinking, gambling, and having fun. As a girl who lives to please everyone else, she begins, finally, to please herself. To her surprise, Betty wins the title of Miss America, and while she is initially caught up in the glitz and glamour of the competition, it all suddenly becomes too much, and she vanishes with Griffin the night of the final ceremony. At first, being on the run is romantic, but there is something off about Griff. This plot-driven story blends aspects of romance, mystery, and thriller. Readers will find authentic language for the time period, and although the book is historical fiction, teens will easily relate to the universal themes and issues. An appended author's note introduces the true 1937 Miss America story about Bette Cooper, on which the novel is based. VERDICT Fans of mid-century drama, beauty queens, and gripping romance will enjoy this adventurous read.-Morgan O'Reilly, Riverdale Country School, NY

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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The Night She Won Miss America
The Night She Won Miss America
Michael Callahan
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