The Georges and the Jewels

The Georges and the Jewels

Book One of the Horses of Oak Valley Ranch

eBook - 2013
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A Pulitzer Prize winner makes her debut for young readers. Jane Smiley makes her debut for young readers in this stirring novel set on a California horse ranch in the 1960s. Seventh-grader Abby Lovitt has always been more at ease with horses than with people. Her father insists they call all the mares "Jewel" and all the geldings "George" and warns Abby not to get attached: the horses are there to be sold. But with all the stress at school (the Big Four have turned against Abby and her friends) and home (her brother Danny is gone'for good, it seems'and now Daddy won't speak his name), Abby seeks refuge with the Georges and the Jewels. But there's one gelding on her family's farm that gives her no end of trouble: the horse who won't meet her gaze, the horse who bucks her right off every chance he gets, the horse her father makes her ride and train, every day. She calls him the Ornery George. From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York : Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2013
Edition: Unabridged
ISBN: 9780375894145
Characteristics: 1 online resource.
Additional Contributors: Recorded Books, LLC.

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k
kgubbins
Nov 21, 2013

True blue is a good books too.

y
ychi
Jun 26, 2012

Voice. This book has it in spades (or so the expression goes; I don't actually have a clue what it means, hehe). Abby is the most authentic middle-grader ever, what with her exasperation towards seventh grade politics and clear-eyed view of the world:
Once upon a time, I would have told him [her dad] all about it [a mishap at school], just because it wasn't me who was in trouble, and it was all pretty interesting. But I knew what he would say: "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." I didn't think it was as easy as that.

While on the subject of her dad: Abby's family is quite religious. And that "quite" deserves its italics. There's a distinct possibility readers will feel uncomfortable with the restrictions which she has to live with, though the religion portion also provides a venue for Abby to grow and change her developing, conflicting views on life. Her father seems controlling in addition to the religious emphasis on which he seems to place everything, which didn't make Abby's home life the most pleasant thing to read about.

Danny and Uncle Luke augment the roster of adept horsemen, but Jem Jarrow is a little too pro with horses to be believable. But goodness, the horse aspect in The Georges and the Jewels? Ahhhhhmazing. Smiley effortlessly integrates horse training techniques and aspects of horse ranch life, from the financial side to the chores. Even non-horse-lovers are going to get what it feels like to love horses. At least, I hope they will.

Have I mentioned yet that I love horses? And I LOVE the title.

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