cover image My One Hundred Adventures

My One Hundred Adventures

Polly Horvath, . . Random/Schwartz & Wade, $16.99 (260pp) ISBN 978-0-375-84582-6

With its introspective mood and measured pace, this quietly captivating novel marks a new course for National Book Award–winner Horvath (The Canning Season ). Newly restless with the comfortable cadences of her family’s daily routine, Jane, 12, prays for adventures and finds plenty, thanks to the inhabitants of the Massachusetts beach town where she lives. The townspeople’s eccentricities are classic Horvath, but this time the protagonist takes charge of her own self-discovery; she becomes the storyteller instead of being the audience. As she comes to realize that “everyone in the whole world is, at the end of a day, staring at a dusky horizon, owner of a day that no one else will ever know,” Jane begins to sense what lies behind often flamboyant facades, understanding that the surly woman who has blackmailed Jane into a summer of babysitting can be “touchingly proud” of her waitress uniform; that the town preacher Nellie Phipps is mostly fascinated with herself, despite her talk of spiritual growth; and that a standoffish neighbor can come through in a crisis. A compassionate spirit infuses this luminous tale. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)