My One Hundred Adventures

My One Hundred Adventures

by Polly Horvath

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375855269
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 01/26/2010
Series: My One Hundred Adventures Series , #1
Pages: 260
Sales rank: 589,212
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

In addition to the National Book Award and the Newbery Honor, Polly Horvath’s titles have been chosen by Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, the Chicago Tribune, and the Washington Post as Best Books of the Year. She lives in Metchosin, British Columbia.


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?

What People are Saying About This

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."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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My One Hundred Adventures 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
LibraryCat More than 1 year ago
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.
ShawnSorensen43 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
IT AMAZING I LUV IT YOU CAN READ IT AND SAY IT WAS A GOOD BOOK!!!!!
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Clever, lovely, and insightfully sharp, 12-year-old Jane is on a mission for one hundred adventures, and she is ready for them.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the first person present tense voice. It made the book come to life. Excellent read.
swallow More than 1 year ago
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.
smclawler on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This book spoke to me on many levels. First of all, I loved the seasonal journey through the story--raspberry, strawberry, blueberry. I chuckled at the description of the main character trying to babysit the herd of young children, since I had been in a similar situation when I was in sixth grade. I could see the literary mom living on the Massachusetts coast in a small bungalow and maximizing the her talents at self sufficiency. I love the simple mystery of the identity of the fathers. Very similar qualities were evident in Horvath's Everything on a Waffle, which I also loved!
ctmsjisc on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Adventure stories are always hard to write, because everyone likes different kinds of adventures. " My One Hundred Adventures" as the title of a book can attract many people with different tastes. Jane is a young teenager with two younger bothers and a younger sister, living on the beach in Massachusetts. All Jane wants this summer is to have fun. During church one day she doesn't know what to pray for, so she prays to have one hundred different adventures this summer. Throughout her summer Jane is faced with many challenges and adventures. She meets many new and interesting people. She meets power wielding pastors, fruit hat wearing old women, clothes hanger men, and many other strange people."My One Hundred Adventures" by Polly Horvath shows readers that anything can be an adventure in your own eyes.This book was a good book but it had some things that I really didn't like. Everyone likes different kinds of adventures, but I didn't like some of the adventures that Jane took in this book. A few of the adventures in the book involved physic readings and people who think they had the power to heal people. The healing wasn't supposed to be fantasy. I didn't like this part of the book. I don't enjoy those things so this part of the book was boring for me.Until the last few chapters, the book was quite hard to follow. There wasn't a visible plot to the story. I found myself confused until the end, when things from the beginning began to clear up. I don't like being confused for half of a book.One thing that I really liked was the writing in the book. Polly Horvath is a very good writer. She is descriptive but not too descriptive. It felt like I was right next to Jane. I could feel and smell the cool ocean breeze in the evening, or feel the soft grainy sand in between my toes. This writing did make the book a little more interesting for me. It was some of the most well written and descriptive writing I have ever read.Some of the adventures Jane goes on would be really fun. At points in the book I wanted to be Jane and do some of the cool things she did. Other adventures I thought were boring. But Jane thought all of her adventures, big or small were adventures none the less."My One Hundred Adventures" was a good book. It had some things that I didn't like, but it also had some things that I did like. The book was baked well, but some of it got stuck left in the pan.
lindamamak on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Funny stories of a young girl as she tries to understand her Mother's life
knielsen83 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I thought this book was amazing ...
slaughterhouse5 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Jane lives in a cottage on the beach with her bohemian, artistic mother and 3 younger siblings. In the face of her idyllic existence, Jane prays for adventure, and does she ever get it! Join Jane as she flies in a hot air balloon, delivers Bibles with her crazy preacher, and babysits for the worst family imaginable. Beautifully written in a lyrical style which will make you nostalgic for youthful summer adventures.
kidlit9 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Twelve-year-old Jane Fielding, who lives at the beach in a run-down old house with her poetess mother, two brothers, and sister, has an eventful summer accompanying her pastor on bible deliveries, meeting former boyfriends of her mother's, and being coerced into babysitting for a family of ill-mannered children, all the while learning valuable lessons about life.
abbylibrarian on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Jane prays for one hundred adventures, but her adventures come in all shapes and sizes. She delivers Bibles from a hot air balloon, goes in search of a transparent poodle, and visits a spiritual medium. A lot of people I know really liked this book and I can see that parts of it are beautifully written, although I thought it was sometimes over-written. The main character doesn't have a really strong voice and that made it hard for me to care about her. I couldn't figure out what age she's supposed to be. Sometimes she seemed pretty young and other times she seemed like a teenager (maybe she was in between and that's the point...). I found the wacky characters annoying instead of endearing. "Muddled" was the best word I could come up with to describe it.
cpotter on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Jane wants her summer to contain 100 adventures, something beyond her life with just her usual routine. Adventures of different sorts seem to keep finding Jane. She learns about herself, neighbors, and her poet mother.
rachelick on LibraryThing 10 months ago
12-year-old Jane lives in a house on a beach with her single mother and various siblings, of whom she is oldest. She takes everything well in stride, from potential fathers to hot-air balloons to blackmail. Horvath's Jane is a believable, stolid child who longs for adventure and gets it, although her somewhat haphazard summer escapades are accompanied by increased responsibility and, in time, maturity. The reader is lazily brought along for the ride-- not by an intriguing story, but by Jane's openness and enthusiasm for life. Overall, thoroughly enjoyable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books i am reading Rachael
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