The Georges and the Jewels – Jane Smiley
This is a very gentle, old fasioned sort of book. And not to say that’s a bad thing. It takes place in 1960’s California and focuses on 7th grader Abby, her family and the horses they’re training. When Smiley was interviewed at Day of Dialog, she talked about writing a book for every year that Abby ages. I personally don’t care, and I’ve never really pretended to leave personal preference out of my opinions here, but would also happily recommend this to middleschool kids, if I still worked with any. I’ve never read any of Smiley’s adult books, but every once and awhile try to read something that is exactly the sort of thing I would never read hoping to be pleasantly surprised. And while this didn’t manage to rekindle any long dormant girl-and-her-horse fantasies I may have had when I was little, I did really enjoy it and felt transported and like I really learned something about the place and time and horses.