My One Hundred Adventures

( 21 )

Overview

THE WINNER OF a National Book Award, a Newbery Honor, and countless other awards has written her richest, most spirited book yet, filled with characters that readers will love, and never forget.

Jane is 12 years old, and she is ready for adventures, to move beyond the world of her siblings and single mother and their house by the sea, and step into the “know-not what.” And, over the summer, adventures do seem to find Jane, whether it’s a thrilling ride in a hot-air balloon, the ...

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My One Hundred Adventures

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Overview

THE WINNER OF a National Book Award, a Newbery Honor, and countless other awards has written her richest, most spirited book yet, filled with characters that readers will love, and never forget.

Jane is 12 years old, and she is ready for adventures, to move beyond the world of her siblings and single mother and their house by the sea, and step into the “know-not what.” And, over the summer, adventures do seem to find Jane, whether it’s a thrilling ride in a hot-air balloon, the appearances of a slew of possible fathers, or a weird new friendship with a preacher and psychic wannabe. Most important, there’s Jane’s discovery of what lies at the heart of all great adventures: that it’s not what happens to you that matters, but what you learn about yourself.

And don't miss Polly Horvath's Northward to the Moon, the sequel to My One Hundred Adventures.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

With its introspective mood and measured pace, this quietly captivating novel marks a new course for National Book Award-winner Horvath (The Canning Season). Newly restless with the comfortable cadences of her family's daily routine, Jane, 12, prays for adventures and finds plenty, thanks to the inhabitants of the Massachusetts beach town where she lives. The townspeople's eccentricities are classic Horvath, but this time the protagonist takes charge of her own self-discovery; she becomes the storyteller instead of being the audience. As she comes to realize that "everyone in the whole world is, at the end of a day, staring at a dusky horizon, owner of a day that no one else will ever know," Jane begins to sense what lies behind often flamboyant facades, understanding that the surly woman who has blackmailed Jane into a summer of babysitting can be "touchingly proud" of her waitress uniform; that the town preacher Nellie Phipps is mostly fascinated with herself, despite her talk of spiritual growth; and that a standoffish neighbor can come through in a crisis. A compassionate spirit infuses this luminous tale. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
Readers of Horvath's earlier books (e.g., The Trolls, Everything on a Waffle) will find some familiar elements here in the episodic structure and the odd turns of story. Eccentrics are legion, including Mrs. Parks, whose fate is surely portended by her character traits, the masterfully-named Gourd family, and poet mom whose attention is so often in ethereal zones of her own imagining. The unexpected arrival of possible fathers lends further surprise to a summer in which Jane longs for adventure, and gains more insights than she expected—perhaps more even than she bargained for. The prose is lushly beautiful, so that the sharply salty greens and the grim gray sea insinuate themselves into the reader's consciousness. This is very much a crafted first-person voice, whether it's navigating the power of people or the endurance of guilt. Jane's long riffs on the swirling of bodies amid the wheeling rides in the park or on birds in "the fields of the air" seem less the expressions of a twelve-year-old than the poetic filtering of that young character's self through a fictitious narrative voice that has a distinctly adult sensibility. While the impressionistic, beautiful writing holds its own appeal, it is balanced nicely by the humor. Nellie Phipps, for instance, is both a wily judge of human nature and a medium hovering in the ether, the two capable of striking intersection only through Jane's wry, characteristically-understated observations. In less capable hands, such a mix might flounder, but Horvath blends it all into a delectable confection of place and voice, in which memory is a luminous thing and the ordinary holds traces of the magical. Reviewer: Uma Krishnaswami
School Library Journal

Gr 4-7

Twelve-year-old Jane Fielding lives an idyllic life on the Massachusetts shore in Polly Horvath's novel (Schwartz & Wade, 2008). Her mother, a sometimes poet who won a Pulitzer, lovingly creates simple meals from the shore's bounty. Jane longs for some excitement and prays for 100 adventures. Adventure comes in waves and brings all manner of problems. For example, Preacher Nellie launches Jane in a hijacked hot air balloon so the youngster can toss Bibles to those below. Jane fears repercussions when she hits a baby on the head, and the angry mother cons the girl into babysitting her trailer park brood for the summer. A succession of odd men show up at the family's door, some wishing to court Jane's mother, and any one of them could be the youngster's father. Jane is scammed by a fortune teller and her best friend runs away to New York City. The girl's character is gently honed by her adventures, and she comes away with a greater appreciation of home and the people in her life, especially her tender-hearted mother. Tai Alexandra Ricci strikes just the right chord in telling Jane's episodic story, delivering the lyrical language with ease. Listeners will relish this gentle, well-written tale.-Tricia Melgaard, Centennial Middle School, Broken Arrow, OK

Kirkus Reviews
Twelve-year-old Jane Fielding's soul itches for adventure. Her life on the Massachusetts shore with her siblings and poet mother is rich with familial love, natural beauty and fresh shellfish, but she still longs to embark into the "know-not-what." Her fervent prayers for adventure are soon answered when a disheveled man shows up for dinner and when, afterwards, her mother casually states, "That was your father," as if to imply that Jane wasn't, as she'd hoped, "conceived in the depths of a moonlit sea." As the scales fall from Jane's eyes, she struggles to make sense of a touchy-feely, "energy"-obsessed preacher, a purse-stealing fortuneteller touting "transparent poodles" (translation: transporting portals), and, most poignantly, a parade of possible fathers. Jane is a lovely blend of hopeful and compassionate, disillusioned and grumpy: "I pour more orange pop moodily into my cup and think about murder-suicides and wonder if they begin with too much food and fun and games." Jane's poetic, philosophical musings capture a child's logic with an adult voice in this witty, wise and wonderful novel. (Fiction. 12 & up)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, Booklist, June 1, 2008:
“Unconventionality is Horvath’s stock and trade, but here the high quirkiness quotient rests easily against Jane’s inner story with its honest, childlike core.”
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2008:
"[A] witty, wise and wonderful novel."

Review, Parenting Magazine, September 2008:
"[T]his tale's full of sweetly memorable moments."

Starred Review, School Library Journal, September 2008:
"This is Horvath's most luminescent, beautifully written novel yet."

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, August 25, 2008:
"[T]his quietly captivating novel marks a new course for National Book Award-winner Horvath."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375855269
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 1/26/2010
  • Series: My One Hundred Adventures Series
  • Pages: 260
  • Sales rank: 252,131
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Polly Horvath is the highly acclaimed author of many books, including the National Book Award winner The Canning Season, the National Book Award nominee The Trolls, and the Newbery Honor Book Everything on a Waffle. Publishers Weekly has described her writing as “unruly, unpredictable, and utterly compelling,” adding that “Horvath’s descriptive powers are singular . . . her uncensored Mad Hatter wit simply delicious, her storytelling skills consummate.” Polly Horvath lives in Metchosin, British Columbia.
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Read an Excerpt

Summer Begins

All summers take me back to the sea. There in the long eelgrass, like birds’ eggs waiting to be hatched, my brothers and sister and I sit, grasses higher than our heads, arms and legs like thicker versions of the grass waving in the wind, looking up at the blue washed sky. My mother is gathering food for dinner: clams and mussels and the sharply salty greens that grow by the shore. It is warm enough to lie here in the little silty puddles like bathwater left in the tub after the plug has been pulled. It is the beginning of July and we have two months to live out the long, nurturing days, watching the geese and the saltwater swans and the tides as they are today, slipping out, out, out as the moon pulls the other three seasons far away wherever it takes things. Out past the planets, far away from Uranus and the edge of our solar system, into the brilliantly lit dark where the things we don’t know about yet reside. Out past my childhood, out past the ghosts, out past the breakwater of the stars. Like the silvery lace curtains of my bedroom being drawn from my window, letting in light, so the moon gently pulls back the layers of the year, leaving the best part open and free. So summer comes to me.

“Jane, Maya, Hershel, Max,” calls my mother. She always calls my name first. She is finished gathering and her baskets are heavy. We run to help her bring things back to the house. No one else lives year-round on the beach but us. A poet with no money can still live very well, my mother reminds us, and I do not know why. Who would think having to leave the ocean for most of the year is a better way to live? How could we not live well, the five of us together? I love our house. I love the bedroom I share with my sister. Our house has no upstairs like the houses of my friends. It has one floor with a kitchen that is part of a larger room, and off of this large room with its big table and rocking chairs and its soft old couch and armchair and miles of booklined shelves are three bedrooms. One for my mother, one for my brothers, one for my sister and me. “I love this house,” I say to my mother often. “You cannot love it as I do,” she says. “No one can ever love it as I do.”

There’s a big red-and-white-checked oilcloth on the kitchen table and an old wine bottle with a dripping candle in the center of it. Our bedroom has two sagging cots topped with old Pendleton blankets. My mother says there is nothing like a Pendleton blanket for keeping you warm at night. She says this especially on nights when the storms are coming in from the northeast and the house is cold and the wind is blowing through the cracks and we read books by candlelight because the elec- tricity is out again. We love the winter because when our power goes out there are no other houses alight on this shore. Their occupants have all gone home until next summer. We are all alone. It is darker than dark then. You can hear the waves crash louder when it is dark. You can smell the sharper smells of the sea. Maybe the wind will take us this time, I think, as a gust shakes the foundations of the house. Maybe we will be blown apart to the many corners of the earth, and I am filled with sadness to lose the other four, but then a sharp stab of something, excitement maybe. It is the prospect of adventures to be had.

On Sundays we walk as we always do, fall, winter, spring, summer, any weather, to the little steepled church in town. We get sand in our good church shoes walking over the beach and sit on cement dividers when we get to the parking lot, dumping our shoes, as much a church ritual now as kneeling at prayer. The church is just the right size, not too large. It has two rooms, one of which is for the Sunday schoolers. We stand in the woody-smelling pews with the soft, much-opened hymnbooks and sing. But despite all this churchgoing every Sunday of every year, it isn’t until this year, when I am twelve, that I have figured out I can pray. Perhaps I have had nothing to pray for until now. As if itchy and outgrown, my soul is twisting about my body, wanting something more to do this summer than the usual wading in the shallows and reading and building castles on the shore. I want something I know not what, which is what adventures are about. The step into the know-not-what. I want it so badly it is making me bad-tempered with Maya, who is too young to understand. She wants every summer the same, and so had I until this year. And my brothers are too young to care about anything like this for a long time. I am twisting all alone.

This week our preacher, a fat old lady named Nellie Phipps, says from her pulpit that you ought to pray all the time. Just about anything at all. It doesn’t have to be sacred. And your prayers will be answered, she declares, your prayers will always be answered.

I pray for a hundred adventures. And maybe, I think, if I pray all the time unceasingly as Nellie is telling us we should, as I walk to town and help my mother shuck oysters, as I make baskets from reeds and sweep the floors or weed the vegetable garden, as I sit mooning over the movement of the wind and lying on my back, lost in the thoughtlessness of doing nothing, then there might be a response. And so I do and maybe it is because of this that it all happens.

Who would think that the universe would pay any attention to me? Who would think that someone who looks like Nellie Phipps would know?

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

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(12)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 31, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Touches of Endearment

    What makes this book really stand out is the poetic language, the unforgettable/quirky small town characters, and the openness in addressing alternative lifestyles. The protagonist is a twelve-year old girl who brings out the worst and best in adults, who has a mother living off the land and trying to settle on one of her many bachelors. The symbolic beach setting is what got me. I also savored the characters, many of whom stay surrounded by mystery through much of the book. A great book for girls 11-15, this title would also make a superb book group or classroom discussion-type read.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Summer of Adventures

    Jane wished for a summer filled with adventures. She definitely ended up in the middle of a lot of strange events with very strange characters. Jane did her best to always do the right thing, even while struggling with frustrating Nellie and Mrs. Gourd. I love Jane's reactions and feelings, which are very honest. The writing is very touching and makes me think back to the care-free summers of youth.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Bailey - The Class for TeensReadToo.com

    Clever, lovely, and insightfully sharp, 12-year-old Jane is on a mission for one hundred adventures, and she is ready for them. <BR/><BR/>Her home is a permanent beach house that has doors that are always wide open, no matter the time of day or night or weather, and is delightful and homey. Jane loves her home and her family - her hopeless romantic mother and her three brothers and sisters. <BR/><BR/>But then a slew of possible fathers comes roaming around the beach, there's the coincidence of a dropped Bible on a baby's head, a gullible mother, and the question that maybe Nellie Phipps isn't really in the right mind as pastor and a responsible adult. <BR/><BR/>I loved this book. It is a slow paced one, but the tempo of this novel makes you savor it, and paints a detailed picture of one incredibly sharp girl. <BR/><BR/>MY ONE HUNDRED ADVENTURES is a charming read, and is very touching and endearing. Readers will identify with Jane, who longs for adventure and freedom, and her free-willed spirit and kind nature. Polly Horvath's style brings out the characters, such as the adults, painfully real, but somehow there is always this wishful feeling in her style, and I always felt as if there was maybe, just maybe, a touch of magic in her words. <BR/><BR/>I recommend this book for people who like simple stories about life and growing out of your innocence and into becoming a more responsible person. I know that people who love detail will enjoy this book, and it is wonderfully written, as well. But watch out - this tale is a little tricky, and there may be a few big words out there.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    best book i have read in my life!!!

    IT AMAZING I LUV IT YOU CAN READ IT AND SAY IT WAS A GOOD BOOK!!!!!

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 17, 2011

    beautiful!

    This book is so beautiful, in a way that goes beyond the age and reading level of a reader. Its simple and elegant imagery really makes an impression. Not to mention it is quite humorous! I want to read it over and over.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    Magical, timeless

    Loved the first person present tense voice. It made the book come to life. Excellent read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2013

    Realy good

    One of the best books i am reading

    Rachael

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2012

    super good!

    This book made me so happy to read! It was proboly one of the best books i read when i was younger

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2011

    Looks really good!!!

    The custamer review was good...

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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