CM . . .
. Volume XVII Number 6. . . .October 8, 2010
Northward to the Moon.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2010.
244 pp., pbk., $12.95.
Grades 7-11 / Ages 12-16.
Review by Caitlin Campbell.
"Let's all go!" says Ned, and he suddenly perks up. "Let's leave tonight under cover of dark!"
Finally, I think, an adventure. Ned had promised me nothing but adventures when we got to Canada but this is the first whiff I've caught of them.
"Leave like outlaws?" asks my mother.
I think she means it as a bad thing but she has chosen the wrong word for Ned. His eyes glow. "Like Jesse James!"
"Like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid!" I say. I imagine us all on horseback with masks, robbing trains and making our way to Mexico. Ned gives me a wild look and I can tell we are having exactly the same fantasy. Life has been a little too mundane of late.
"But school!" says my mother.
For a poet she can be terribly prosaic sometimes.
Jane Fielding, the perpetual dreamer and would-be adventurer of Horvath's My One Hundred Adventures, is back in this sequel that follows her and her family on a road trip from Saskatchewan to Nevada and back to the family's beloved beachside home in Massachusetts. When Jane's stepfather Ned receives a phone call from a dying friend in British Columbia, the family packs their bags and hits the road. Once they are in British Columbia, a mysterious duffel bag full of money—left for Ned by his brother—leads the family to the Nevada ranch of Ned's estranged mother. From there, the story centers on Jane's astute observations of family dynamics and drama, including a chapter in which she must deal with her mercurial sister's severe loneliness and boredom.
Though not as well crafted as My One Hundred Adventures and lacking the full power of Horvath's characteristic quirkiness and whimsy, Northward to the Moon is a poignant novel that excels in the charm and depth of its characters.
Caitlin Campbell has a Master of Arts in Children's Literature from the University of British Columbia and is currently attending the University of Michigan's School of Information where she specializes in school library media.
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