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Young Adult Fiction Canada

Buffalo Flats

by (author) Martine Leavitt

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Apr 2023
Canada, Farm & Ranch Life, Historical
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2023
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2023
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 13 to 18
  • Grade: 7 to 12


A stubborn, irreverent and resourceful young woman discovers that it is the bonds of family, faith and friendship that will tie her to the wild and unpredictable land she comes to love so fiercely.

Seventeen-year-old Rebecca has traveled by covered wagon from Utah to the North-West Territories of Canada, where her parents and brothers are now homesteading and establishing a new community. Despite the back-breaking work, Rebecca decides that she, too, must have her own land. She sets to the seemingly impossible task of earning enough money to buy her homestead, while surviving the relentless challenges of pioneer life – the ones that mother nature throws at her in the form of blizzards, grizzlies, influenza or flood, and the ones that come with human nature, be they government bureaucracy, exasperating neighbours or the breathtaking frailty of life.

All the while, her quest opens a floodgate of questions. Why should she be expected to marry and be subject to her husband’s domain? What kind of a man would she marry, anyway? Someone gallant and exciting like Levi Hunt? Or a man of ideas like Coby Webster? How can she make this land she loves her own?


Key Text Features

biographical note



historical note


About the author

Martine Leavitt has published eight novels for young readers, most recently My Book of Life By Angel, which received five starred reviews, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Junior Library Guild Selection, a Horn Book Fanfare book, a Booklist best book of the year, and winner of the Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book of the Year. Other titles include Keturah and Lord Death, a finalist for the National Book Award, Tom Finder, winner of the Mr. Christie's Book Award, and Heck Superhero, a finalist for the Governor General’s Award. Her novels have been published in Japan, Korea, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands. Currently she teaches creative writing to graduate students at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is a mother of seven, grandmother of fifteen, and lives in High River, Alberta.

Martine Leavitt's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Stunning love letter to the land and to community.

Prairie Books NOW

A richly lyrical novel.

Globe and Mail

This coming-of-age historical YA fiction sensitively handles life and death issues, and beautifully emphasizes spirituality, family values and perseverance.

Calgary Herald

Leavitt's writing is suffused with the beauty of the earth and sky.

Horn Book

Rebecca is a funny, focused, and believable young woman who battles internally over right and wrong, especially when it comes to dealing with romantic feelings and appreciating people who are hard to get along with.


Buffalo Flats runs the gamut of emotional experiences and allows Rebecca to feel joy, love, sorrow, resentment, and more while staying true to her beliefs.

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

Leavitt’s prose shimmers with the land’s beauty, its appreciative lyricism balanced with down-to-earth spirituality and humour.

Toronto Star

A pioneer story full of accounts of inclement weather, endless labour, floods and plagues, it also shows the self-sacrifice and solidarity that held these communities together.

Winnipeg Free Press

A vivid celebration of life and insightful exploration of faith, this novel proves the enduring importance of sometimes undervalued historical fiction for YAs. STARRED REVIEW


Through deliberately paced, relationship-driven storytelling overflowing with witty humor and gritty Western imagery, Leavitt … presents Rebecca’s faith as a tender, sometimes fraught, ever-evolving dynamic that honors those struggling to define themselves within religious traditions. STARRED REVIEW

Publishers Weekly

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