July 2009 Indie Next List
“Abby Lovitt already has a lot of horse sense at 12 years old. She's been riding horses for her daddy, who buys them to train up and resell, boasting that 'even a little girl can ride them.' But Abby must also transfer those skills to dealing with the people around her. Jane Smiley maintains the level of sophistication and character development for which she is known in her adult fiction. I can't wait to put this book in the hands of horse lovers!”
— Janet Blevins, Knight Equestrian Books, Edgecomb, ME
"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.
About the Author
Jane Smiley is the author of nine previous works of fiction, including The Age of Grief, The Greenlanders, Ordinary Love & Good Will, A Thousand Acres (for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize), and Moo. She lives in northern California.
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, July 20, 2009:
"A lyrical meditation on horses, families, and the vicissitudes of peer relationships among girls."
Review, Booklist, September 15, 2009:
"[A] quiet, psychologically attuned youth debut."
Review, The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), October 3, 2009:
"'The Georges and the Jewels' is filled with fascinating details about the care and training of horses, and Abby is a refreshing heroine in today's snark-filled times."
Review, Chicago Sun-Times, October 18, 2009:
"Smiley’s intricate and sophisticated knowledge of horses shines throughout this book, making it a guaranteed winner for horse-loving youngsters."
Review, LATimes.com, September 27, 2009:
"I have never admired [Smiley's] writing as much as I do in the first of what promises to be a series of books for children...'The Georges and the Jewels' can easily take its place on the shelf along with the great horse stories of childhood."
Review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, October 2009:
"Readers...will be happy to mount up and ride along."