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Northward to the Moonby Polly Horvath
Synopses & Reviews
We Become Outlaws
Our family lasted almost one year in Saskatchewan. It took the town that long to figure out that Ned didn’t speak any French.
“I always looked on it as kind of a frill,” he explains to my mother.
“Teaching,” says Ned. “I coach the girls’ basketball team and keep real good order in the classroom, so the kids don’t, you know, go out and smoke in the hallways, at least during class time, and I always help out at assemblies. I was the one who rustled up some World War Two veterans for Remembrance Day. Remember, Jane, the knack I had with the veterans?”
“Knack with the veterans?” asks my mother. She seems stunned by recent events.
“You don’t want them drooling on their shoes. And you want them to look like they’re having fun even if they’ve forgotten what they’re doing there. It takes a certain deft touch,” says Ned.
“So you didn’t think knowing French was really so important?” My mother is trying just desperately to understand Ned’s point of view.
“Not in the general scheme of things,” says Ned cheerfully.
“Well ” says my mother. “Are they angry?”
“Oh, livid,” says Ned.
“I guess they want you to resign?” asks my mother.
My heart leaps up at the thought of leaving this crummy little house on the edge of town where we have lived for the last year. None of us have warmed to Saskatchewan. We moved here from Massachusetts the summer before when my mother married Ned, who got a full-time job here. His first full-time job ever. But it turns out that there is more to life than this.
The town has financed this house for us but at great cost. There is no one very rich in town but still we are despised and pitied for the charity they afford us, giving us this house and lending us this furniture. I have no friends here. It is rumored we get our clothes off the dump. I don’t mind so much for me but it is very hard on Maya, who has never had her own friends and wants some desperately. She has one so-called friend named Katie, who lords it over Maya and her poverty-stricken state. She is always saying things like she will give Maya her dolls when she outgrows them, knowing full well that by that time Maya will have outgrown them too.
We are not really so poverty-stricken. We have not had chicken and rice without the chicken once since moving. There is always food and heat. But whereas back in Massachusetts our house on the beach carried some cachet, it is different here. No one cares that my mother is a poet. Once at a school dessert night one of the moms asked me what my mother did for a living and when I said she was a poet the mom replied, “Don’t worry, she’ll get over that.” I know that none of this bothers my mother but I am bothered on her account. The only thing that has given us any respectability is Ned’s position as the new French teacher.
“Resign? Are you kidding? They fired me. Darn shortsighted. You know I was one of only two male teachers in the whole frigging town,” says Ned.
“Oh no ” says my mother. She looks so stricken that Ned and I glance at each other. But then the stricken feeling leaves her eyes and
When her stepfather loses his job in Saskatchewan, Jane and the rest of the family set off on a car trip, ending up in Nevada after improbably being given a bag full of possibly stolen money.
THE ALPINE ADVOCATE SCOOPS A MURDER
Emma Lord, the Advocate's editor, finds the body in the facial room of Stella's Styling Salon *anonymous under a mud pack, throat slashed.
The victim turns out to be the sister-in-law of Sheriff Dodge's girlfriend, who had initially made the appointment for herself. Perhaps she was the killer's intended target. After all, no one in Alpine really knew the dead woman personally. Then rumors begin to fly, shady strangers turn up in town, and a young woman disappears into thin air. What looks like the story of the year is fast developing, and Emma means to have it *or die trying . . .
From the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Polly Horvath is one of the most highly acclaimed authors writing today. A National Book Award winner and Newbery Honor recipient, her most recent novel, My One Hundred Adventures, was a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, a Booklist Editors’ Choice, a Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Books, a New York Public Library’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, a Parents’ Choice Gold Award winner, and an Amazon Best Book of 2008.
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