by Elizabeth Yates

Beautifully-written, modestly-told story

5.0 rating
March 31, 2021

We love Elizabeth Yates at our place.
I am thoroughly revelling in this beautifully-told, gentle story. The characters are eminently lovable, and while the themes are mature and significant, they are not overwhelmingly or disturbingly imparted.
I would just love for someone to write a study guide for this book, for my daughter when she is old enough to enjoy it. Hoping…


A gem of optimism, ethicality, and goodness.

5.0 rating
December 28, 2020

Elizabeth Yates masterfully weaves the most difficult of mortal circumstances and situations with pervading hope and light. Through endearing characters we learn that such an ability is obtained by those who are met with human imperfection yet choose to respond with long-suffering, forgiveness, and love. We are taught that such reactions can be experienced in our lives through our own duplication of such noble responses. Continued enlightenment teaches that love and dedication to God begat love and dedication to fellowman and that such charity can alter the natural consequences of those born into inequitable circumstances.
With continued moral merit we identify that equality for all is the fruit of acceptance despite difference, that true love embodies selflessness, thoughtfulness, and purity of devotion, and that one’s determined efforts to produce good, even when met with resistance and ignorance, can bring forth mighty change, both of mind and heart.

Brynn Stringham

Tackles tough subjects

5.0 rating
September 11, 2020

It is a high school book with adult themes. Themes of racism, prostitution, poverty, suicide, gossip, foster children, one person making a difference. It is done very well and nothing is explicit – but it does tackle some of the harder topics in life. It is a very good book. While it may have been the place I was at in my life that made it so memorable, I will read it again. I listened to it while on the way to see my sister who had just attempted suicide and the recent blm activity had just started across the country. It helped me see and understand things in a different way as I bawled my way across I-80. Tearing up now thinking about it.


Love is powerful

5.0 rating
March 15, 2020

I enjoyed this story a lot. It was very uplifting and showed that even when hard things happen, love is powerful, one person can make a huge difference in someone’s life, and teaching children can be worrisome and wonderful. I came to love Mary, and her example of bringing good into so many lives.

Sara S.

An insightful story about Love

5.0 rating
December 16, 2019

An insightful story about love. Love of learning, love for a child, the love of family, romantic love, love for your fellow men, and more. Totally worth a read!

Heather Law
Read Review Policies
Level 11

This warm, inspiring story—set in a rural New England village called Nearby—is brought to life through the eyes of Mary, the new teacher who devotes herself to changing prejudices and lifting her students’ minds and hearts to a higher place. With beautiful description, award-winning author Elizabeth Yates weaves a complex plot packed with endearing characters and powerful messages.

Nearby is a wonderful example of literature that can address deep, mature issues—such as prostitution, suicide, neglect, and lust versus love—in a way that is not overly descriptive or dark, maintaining an underlying feeling of light and hope. Especially for older teenagers and adults, this clean language version of Nearby is a deeply inspiring book with one of the most beautiful, feel-good endings to a book I have ever read.” –Jenny Phillips

334 pages

Clean language version

Available on Audible

This book is available for Audible at

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