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The Ashwater Experiment [NOOK Book]


Hillary Siegal and her footloose parents live on the road. To Hillary, each move is an escape from becoming one of the "sleepwalkers" she's seen at all of the seventeen schools she's attended. But then the Siegals land in Ashwater, California. And this time, they're staying put. Seventh grade isn't going to...
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The Ashwater Experiment

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Hillary Siegal and her footloose parents live on the road. To Hillary, each move is an escape from becoming one of the "sleepwalkers" she's seen at all of the seventeen schools she's attended. But then the Siegals land in Ashwater, California. And this time, they're staying put. Seventh grade isn't going to be a typical year for Hillary. What can she do if she can't run?

"Undercurrents of humor, and characters who develop surprising complexities, give this bittersweet tale unusual depth."
Kirkus Reviews

Twelve-year-old Hillary, who has traveled across the country all her life with her parents who sell crafts, finds herself facing a stay of nine whole months in Ashwater, California.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A seventh grader has moved around so much that nothing in her environment seems to have a past or future. "This sensitively wrought novel contains enough unique personalities and interesting twists to keep the audience absorbed," wrote PW. Ages 10-14. Apr. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Hillary Siegal has lived her life on the road. Her parents sell "gizmos" at local flea markets and art fairs, and rarely do they stay in one place longer than a few months. Hillary has really taken to this migratory life, never truly connecting with others her age but instead becoming an adult more and more quickly within her family structure. She keeps her family's books and maps out their travel schedule with a well-worn atlas. However, when Hillary and her family arrive in Ashwater, California, things change for her. The family becomes settled and adapts to the more traditional life of Ashwater, and Hillary, for the first time in her life, begins to make friends, even with the popular girls that in the past she had always despised and criticized. Just as she gets comfortable with her new life, the family whose house they had been staying at returns, and Hillary's new life is turned upside down again. This story has a wonderful voice, interesting conflicts and intriguing twists and turns, not to mention the authentic voice of teenage Hillary and the other young people in the story. There are many lessons here that I hope the readers will take with them. An ALA Best Book for YAs. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 1999, Penguin, Puffin, 153p. 20cm. 98-23995., $5.99. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Sarah Applegate; Libn., River Ridge H.S., Lacey, WA , July 2001 (Vol. 35, No. 4)
Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Hillary learns about the give and take of friendship when her peripatetic, hippie parents put down temporary roots long enough for her to get to know her classmates. A wise and witty exploration of a girl learning about herself and others. (Aug.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Hillary, 12, has dealt with change all her life. Her free-spirited parents lead a semi-nomadic life traveling between craft fairs, so she has attended 17 different schools. After becoming conditioned to this peripatetic lifestyle, she is dismayed to learn that her family will be spending the next nine months in Ashwater, CA. From her travels, Hillary has learned that every school has its class clown, popular clique, brainy outcast, etc., and it doesn't take long to distinguish these types in her new class. What's different about Ashwater, though, is that these people become more and more real to Hillary as time passes. Amazingly, she becomes friends with both Serena, the queen bee of the in-crowd, and Cass, the smart girl who is a true kindred spirit. Koss's strong characterizations make the relationships believable, and the story of how Hillary manages to stay friendly with such different people is a valuable model for young readers, who often feel forced to choose between certain groups. In the end, Hillary moves from isolation to making connections; by so doing, her friendships bloom and she becomes a stronger, more self-assured person.-Robin L. Gibson, Muskingum County Library System, Zanesville, OH Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The daughter of happily itinerant parents gets a world-altering taste of settled life in this engagingly cast story. Having spent her entire life on the road, nine months in one place looks like prison to Hillary, but her parents have agreed to house-sit for a family on sabbatical. Treating the experience as a test of character imposed by unseen watchers, she abandons her usual self-imposed isolation and deliberately sets out to make connections in her new (and her 18th) school, agreeing to tutor Brian, a student with Attention Deficit Disorder, in math, joining the circle of class queen Serena, and forming an unexpectedly deep friendship with Cass, a thoughtful loner. Readers will see past her pretense that it's all just role-playing to the lonely, sensitive child within, and will be further attracted by the quiet competence with which she faces each challenge, whether it be managing the family finances for her feckless parents or mending fences with a jealous classmate. The roots this new life strikes in Hillary are deep and quick, but Koss (The Trouble With Zinny Weston, 1998) gives the tale an unpredictable twist when Cass indignantly rejects her grandparents' offer of a permanent home, then pays the price when she and her parents are suddenly forced to pull up stakes. Undercurrents of humor, and characters who seem typecast initially but develop surprising complexities, give this bittersweet tale unusual depth. (Fiction. 10-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101658277
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/23/2001
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 160
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Amy Koss

AMY GOLDMAN KOSS is the author of several acclaimed teen novels, including The Girls, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, and Poison Ivy (available from Square Fish). She lives in Glendale, CA, with her family, and she’s on the web at

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2012

    I remember reading this book when I was much younger. The voice

    I remember reading this book when I was much younger. The voice of the author almost sounded like my own. I could have related so easily with her story and her inner thoughts. I need to read this again if just for nostalgic reasons. This book truly holds a great story from cover to cover.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2007


    this book was original and exilirrating!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2002

    A great story!

    I thought this was an awesome book! It has wonderful description, and the story is interesting as well as oringinal! Two thumbs up!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2009

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