June 20, 2013

Strange families

Northward to the Moon
by Polly Horvath

A sequel of sorts to My One Hundred Adventures,this book starts off nearly where the last one ended, in Saskatchewan. Jane's stepfather Ned has just been fired from his job as a French teacher (he doesn't speak French) and the family is once again on the road. Jane is still up for adventures, and she encounters some strange ones. In searching for Ned's brother, who's left him a bag full of cash that may or not be legal, they end up at Ned's mother's horse ranch in Nevada. When Ned's mother breaks her hip, he and his sisters force her into a nursing home. Meanwhile, Jane's sister Maya is having growing pains and may be suffering from a mental illness.

The rather grown-up subject matter makes this book more suitable for teens rather than middle graders. The adults are as irresponsible and unreliable as always, especially Ned, whose efforts to escape grow more desperate chapter by chapter. Through it all, Jane makes wise observations about the unpredictability of life and the people who inhabit it.

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