About the Book

Title: Weetamoo: Heart of the Pocassets, Massachusetts-Rhode Island, 1653 (The Royal Diaries #16)
Published: 2001
Series: The Royal Diaries
Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Cover Story: Fanta-stick
BFF Charm: Yay
Talky Talk: Picture Book
Bonus Factor: Visions and Dreams
Relationship Status: Childhood Friends

The Official FYA Royal Diaries Drinking Game: Updated Again Edition

Take a sip when:

  • There is talk of a betrothal
  • The protagonist references the diary concept (i.e. apologizes for not writing often enough, has to find a hiding place for the diary, explains why she’s writing in it to begin with, etc.)
  • The protagonist wonders what it would be like to be a “normal girl”
  • There’s a ball
  • There’s a trip to the marketplace
  • Somebody becomes deathly ill (pour one out if they die!)
  • Somebody is poisoned or strangled or in some other way Ye Olde Murdered
  • You wish you were a princess

Take two sips when:

  • The protagonist becomes officially betrothed
  • The protagonist suspects someone of reading her diary
  • It’s the protagonist’s birthday (or culturally equivalent celebration)
  • There’s a secret nighttime adventure!
  • There’s obvious historical foreshadowing*
  • The protagonist becomes deathly ill
  • You’re really glad you’re NOT a princess

Take a shot when:

  • The protagonist gets hitched
  • Another Royal Diarist is mentioned

* More serious examples of this below, but I’m proud to say that eleven books in, I know all the standard Royal Diaries tricks inside and out. Metacom (yes, that Metacom) shows up in passing wearing a belt which Weetamoo’s sister was last seen in possession of? Deduction: they defs got married in RL.

Cover Story: Fanta-stick

I make this truly pathetic pun in the service of two points: one, like Jahanara, this is the rare Royal Diaries book with a high-quality cover image floating around online thanks to the illustrator’s website, making my job much easier. Two, she’s holding a stick. Looking at the cover after having just finished the book, it took me a moment to figure out the stick’s significance. It’s a reference to either Weetamoo occasionally using a stick to draw images on pieces of bark, or to a game she plays with her friends called “snowsnake,” which is kind of like Pooh Sticks.

The Deal:

In my eagerness to reference Thanksgiving (and, by extension, Friends) in this post’s title, I kinda skipped historical accuracy entirely: the “first” Thanksgiving actually took place three decades before this book begins. But Weetamoo’s people, the Wampanoag, were indeed present at that feast, and their leader back then is the same one Weetamoo interacts with in this book. Her own father is the chief of a tributary tribe, the Pocassets, and one day Weetamoo will take his place. It’s an uneasy time for the Wampanoag people thanks to the nearby English (or “Coat-men”) settlements: opinions vary greatly on whether or not the newcomers are to be trusted, and to what extent, and why or why not. Weetamoo just can’t wait to be chief, but of course, she must first learn some hard lessons about leadership, patience, diplomacy, and even death.

BFF Charm: Yay

Yay BFF Charm

I didn’t love Weetamoo instantly, possibly because she reminded me too much of myself (super impatient, hates doing chores, has vague ideas about leadership that mostly manifest in fantasies of giving amazingly wise advice and being loved by all). But poor Weetamoo gets put through the emotional wringer and ends up maturing a lot in a short amount of time. By the end, she’s no longer the carefree young girl she once was—but she is much better prepared to be her people’s leader, and someone I would be proud to call my friend.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Finally, an actually swoonworthy Royal Diaries romance that isn’t ruined by an uncomfortable age difference! Wamsutta is a teensy bit underdeveloped as a character, which makes his romance with Weetamoo feel underdeveloped as well, but what there was I definitely enjoyed. (I also enjoyed learning Weetamoo was a bit of a mankiller—meaning opposite of ladykiller, not murderer—in the epilogue.)

Talky Talk: Picture Book

Patricia Clark Smith prefaces Weetamoo with the same disclaimer Edwidge Danticat used for Anacaona: neither the Taíno nor the Wampanoag peoples had writing systems. I like the way Smith translates the diary format into “thinking times,” each entry representative of a moment in which Weetamoo pauses to reflect. She also includes little drawings with some of the entries—a sketch of her dog or some corn, for instance—which I did not think worked so well.

Bonus Factor: Visions and Dreams

A person holds a crystal ball in their hands in the dark

This book takes the “obvious historical foreshadowing” Royal Diaries Drinking Game™ rule and runs with it. Weetamoo goes through a special ceremony which involves fasting, burning herbs, and, yes, visions. Frankly her dreams about the future were a little on-the-nose for my taste (I was expecting more in the way of Meaningful Symbols and less in the way of Predicting the Exact Circumstances of King Philip’s War in Great Detail), but it’s a cool part of Weetamoo’s story nonetheless.

Relationship Status: Childhood Friends

I feel like this book and I grew up together. Even knowing the historical heartbreak ahead, I wish we had more time to spend with one another. But maybe the time has come to put away childish things—says the girl who’s rereading and reviewing all twenty middle grade-aimed Royal Diaries books.

FTC Full Disclosure: I purchased this book with my allowance. Weetamoo: Heart of the Pocassets has been available for years, y’all. So get on that.

About the Contributor:

Maria Greer is originally from Montana but goes to school in the Bay Area, where she totally fails to take advantage of the tech industry. Instead, she is majoring in history and creative writing, with which she plans to do…something. Currently her hope is that someone will come along and offer to pay her to read YA novels and eat cupcakes. Until that day, Maria spends most of her time studying and petitioning the university to let her keep a cat in her dorm.

This post was written by a guest writer or former contributor for Forever Young Adult.