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Nobody's Horse (Horses of Oak Valley Ranch #1)

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  965 Ratings  ·  117 Reviews
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 D ...more
272 pages
Published 2010 by Faber and Faber (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Didn't make it all the way through this book. I stopped about half way. Reasons: by the middle of the story I should have had an idea of the main thrust of the story. The "why I should keep reading" element. Didn't see it. Plus there was an awful lot of religion being shoved down my throat. I've read literally hundreds of horse stories in my life. Never have I felt the need for a dose of Christianity with my barn dirt. The actual horse bits were authentic and realistic and were enjoyable. Maybe ...more
Amy Raby
Sep 18, 2013 Amy Raby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the kind of horse novel I've been looking for, one that is actually about horses and is not a soap opera set in a barn. The central story here is about a 12-year-old girl who is trying to cope with an uncooperative horse called Ornery George. She is expected to help her father train him so that he can be sold at a profit, but the horse keeps bucking her off. While she's perfectly comfortable with the other horses at her dad's barn, she's scared of Ornery George, and for good reason.

Dec 26, 2010 Beverly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: list
The Georges and the Jewels is a slow paced uneventful story of a pre-teen, Abbey, growing up on a ranch with loving parents who are much more old fashioned than the upwardly mobile suburban parents of her classmates. The story lightly (and unsatisfyingly) deals with mean girl cliques, horse training cruelty and religious intolerance. Considering the author is Jane Smiley, I expected more deeply developed characters and conflict. That said, girls who are nuts about horses will enjoy this story an ...more
Jessica Wheeler
Oct 01, 2009 Jessica Wheeler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This book was so perfectly right for me, that I originally felt I couldn’t judge it objectively. So, first I gave it to my daughter who is just starting to ride. And, then I gave it to my mother who was never bitten by the horse bug. We all absolutely loved it. It is a wonderful book that while just right for a nine year old, has the ability to appeal to children and adults alike. I would recommend it to people of any age and with varying degrees of interest in horses. It is that good.

It is the
Apr 20, 2010 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals, girl-power
If you love horses, you'll LOVE this book. It's brimming with ideas about training horses. But even if you don't love horses, there is lots to like here.
Abby and her parents run a horse farm: her dad buys horses and (re)trains them so that they can be "ridden by a young girl". That's where Abby comes in: if she can't ride a horse, that claim can't be made and money will be lost. Her dad won't let anyone name the horses--the boys are all "George" and the girls are all "Jewel". Abby's parents are
Abby lives on a farm with her born-again family. Her father buys horses cheap and trains them so that "a little girl can ride them" and resells them for a higher price. To keep Abby from growing attached, he calls all the male horses "George" and all the female horses "Jewel." As Abby tries to figure out the problems of one horse she calls "Ornery George" and dealing with a surprise new foal she names Jack, Abby also has to deal with friendship troubles in middle school and navigating her slight ...more
Oct 29, 2010 M— rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Abby is a gifted young rider in 1960s California who, at twelve, is beginning to walk a careful line between her home life with her highly religious parents and public life among a broader set of peers and authority figures. Her relationship with horses grounds her in both aspects of her life, but that relationship is the root Abby's need to change.

Jane Smiley is not an author I have particular awareness of: I stumbled upon this book during the 2010 National Book Festival. My mother, whose taste
Anne Shealy
I enjoyed The Georges and the Jewels, but I'm not sure how many other people will enjoy it. It has very strong descriptions of horse training which I thoroughly enjoyed reading; however, I'm not sure how many young adult readers will enjoy that. I could be wrong though - maybe the young horse enthusiasts will really like it.

It also contains a very realistic description of they dynamics of adolescent females trying to get along with one another. That is a frightening, insecure world for many girl
Aug 10, 2014 Pete rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horse
The Georges and the Jewels is the 1st book in the Horses of Oak Valley Ranch by Jane Smiley. This book I loaned to a student equestrian and just got it back.

The story for me was Ornery George and Abby’s trying to overcome fear of Ol’ Ornery. With the help of other trainers with different ways of training helped her learn a technique that works.

There were other sub-plots on religion and school which were ok, I guess, but less important for the reading experience for me.

What attracted me to this
Apr 20, 2011 Anna rated it really liked it
This book is about a girl who has some problems at school and her father sells horses. She has to ride each of them every day and she really loves horses. Then a foal is born and her father buys a horse that always bucks her off and she gets scared to ride him. Then, at school her only friend has a new BFF and often ignores her. She gets suspended for something she didn't do it! Read to find out more about Abby!!!
Sep 14, 2014 Annemarie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book that tells the story of a girl that lives on a barn.
Hannah Clennnon
Mar 01, 2017 Hannah Clennnon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am reviewing the book "Georges and the Jewels" by Jane Smiley. The books lexile level is 970 its rated for teens in 7th-8th grade. I rated this book 4 stars because it wasn't as good as people said it would be,but it still opened my eyes to new things.The book is wrote in first person, Abby Lovit a 13 year old girl who has been riding sense she could walk but one day she gets to attached to a pony and that's were it all goes down hill.

This book is written so you can fell and see the way Abby d
Belea Keeney
Feb 28, 2017 Belea Keeney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely YA that captures those moments of connection with a horse and the adolescent fumbling about for a life and goal. That *feeling* about horses that many people have is on the page here. Jane always does a great job with horse-y life.
Jane Debano
Apr 04, 2012 Jane Debano rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just spent an enjoyable weekend on a California horse ranch in the 1960’s by reading the above two J (for juvenile) books. The hero of our story is Abby Lovitt, a 12 yr. old ranch girl whose parent’s strict religious views mean she doesn’t have a TV, or listen to popular music or wear stylish clothes so she feels like a misfit in her school. The Big Four are the popular girls who like to ridicule Abby and her friends Gloria and Stella. But at least Gloria also likes horses so they have lots to ...more
Sophie Rampe
Sep 21, 2016 Sophie Rampe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This series by Jane Smiley is awesome. I couldn't put them down!
Nov 05, 2011 Eden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really think there should be a "recent" historical category. I mean, when one says historical, you think Victorian era, early colonies, etc. etc., yes? So that makes the 1900s recent. Trust me on this. *nods firmly* Oh, and I love the title.

Voice. This book has it in spades (or so the expression goes; I don't actually have a clue what it means, hehe). Abby is the most authentic middle-grader ever, what with her exasperation towards seventh grade politics and clear-eyed view of the world:
Once u
Sep 10, 2009 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Jane Smiley, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “A Thousand Acres,” has returned to the topic of horses, this time in a book for preteens.
Like Smiley’s “Horse Heaven,” “The Georges and the Jewels” takes a fond, detailed look at all things equine. Unlike that wickedly satirical novel, “Georges” is straightforward and much more serious than funny — but most preteens aren’t yet savvy enough for satire anyway, so this is not a strike against it. What “Georges” does have is Smiley’s sharp eye for d
Dec 30, 2016 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shelly Donaghey
Oct 17, 2014 Shelly Donaghey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
THE GEORGES AND THE JEWELS is Pulitzer winner Jane Smiley’s first venture into the young adult market and she manages to make a very strong entry indeed.
The time is the early 1960s in California and the place is a horse farm and the local school. The central character is Abby Lovitt, a seventh grader and the daughter of a horse rancher. She is struggling to make it through the group pressure at school, having to contend with the “Big Four”, and there is tension at home. The family business is
Jun 30, 2014 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actually 3.5

I just found out this is actually a series. I honestly never would've guessed. But that was unrelated. Sorry.

First of all, let me say this is definitely not a super duper exciting story. The plot doesn't race. The author writes in a laid back, gentle style that takes you on a ride. I could almost smell and feel the horses, just because of how well the style fits the story. It's about the horses every bit as much as the girl, Abby.

I feel like I learned more about training horses and
Ms. Yingling

Smiley, Jane. The Georges and the Jewels. (#1)(2009)

Abby loves working on her family's horse farm in a small California town in the 1960s. She struggles with her father's insistence that she not become attached to the horses because the only way the family can survive is to train them and sell them. This explains the weird title-- all the male horses are called "George" and the females "Jewel". Abby's father is also extremely religious, to the extent that he has driven off Abby's older brother
Mar 20, 2012 Ally rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was the spring and school was almost out and seventh grade Abby Lovitt is riding all the horses she can so her dad can sell them. Abby Lovitt grews up on her family's California horse ranch in the 1960s,learning to train the horses her father sells and trying to reconcile her strict religious upbringing with her own ideas about life. Her family is all worked up when suddenly she wakes up to a bundle of glory. She steps one by one closer and closer to the mare to see if she doesn't freak. She ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by hoopsielv for

Abby is one busy seventh grader. Between school, church, and her family's ranch, there is little time for much else.

Abby can't remember much about her life before the horses that her family raise, train, and then sell. The mares are all named Jewel, and the geldings are called George. Her dad feels that if they each had individual names, it would seem like they are going to stay permanently.

Still, Abby can't help giving some of them special names.

Jack is
Megan Westfield
Seventh grader Abby Lovitt’s father makes a living buying horses, re-training them, and selling them for a higher price. His most persuasive selling point is that a horse is so gentle and well trained that a kid could ride it, the “kid” being Abby, who has never minded her after school chore of riding horses until a horse called Ornery George bucks her off. Abby stands up to her strong-willed father for the first time in her life and refuses to remount, but she knows it’s just a matter of time u ...more
I won this book but when it came it was an auto book. The Georges and the Jewels is the story about the a young girl starting seventh grade. Abby lives on a horse ranch where her father buys horses, trains them to ride and sells them. Abby's job is to ride the horses and train them so that her father can say that a little girl can ride them. The horses are all named the same; George for the males and Jewels for the females. Abby's father is a very strict religious man who has already had trouble ...more
Sep 30, 2014 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received this free audio book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is a sweet story of a seventh grade girl named Abby. Abby is very lonely both at school (remember what 7th grade was like!?) and at home (her older brother Danny was thrown out of her home). She lives on the family ranch and finds companionship in the horses on her farm. Her strict father reminds her not to get too attached to the horses - he is all business and sells the Georges and the Jewels as soon as he
Sep 01, 2011 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Georges and the Jewels, was probably my most favorite book. Its a amazing story about a young girl that loved horses, almost as much as I do, She and her parents ran this farm. Her brother (Danny) was banned from the farm after getting into a physical fight with his father, When a colt was born, her father wanted to get rid of him. But the colt (Jack) was too special to think of getting rid of, a bit playful at that. She had a problem with one of the new geldings George. There were many of them ...more
Cynthia Prosser
I found this book very enjoyable. The main character is a 7th grade girl and the events of the story are reported through her eyes and with her understanding. The book probably would be classed as Christian and YA or perhaps preteen. Christian because the protagonist's family is fundamental Christian, but the book is not preachy. These concepts are presented in a matter of fact, observational manner as anyone would describe how their parents handle and organize home life. School life seemed to b ...more
May 11, 2015 Nora rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is great, especially if you are crazy about horses. It’s about a seventh grade girl named Abby who lives on a horse ranch and helps her father train the horses that he buys and later sells once Abby can ride them without any problem, saying that “a little girl could ride him/her”. The father names all the geldings who come through there “George” and all the mares “Jewel”, so that Abby won’t get attached. This book is about how Abby confronts the problems in her life, including a surpri ...more
Oct 18, 2009 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: girls
Admiring horses, but not into the equestrian sport, I enjoyed this novel of young Abby and her love of horses. Her relationship with her father, which revolved around his horse business, was interesting. Another subplot, her challenge to fit in at school and have a friendship group, was a good counterbalance to all the horse information. I learned a lot about horses and their training. The book was well written. But I believe the main audience for this book will be girls 4th through 6th grade, w ...more
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Jane Smiley is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist.

Born in Los Angeles, California, Smiley grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, and graduated from John Burroughs School. She obtained a A.B. at Vassar College, then earned a M.F.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. While working towards her doctorate, she also spent a year studying in Iceland as a Fulbright Scholar
More about Jane Smiley...

Other Books in the Series

Horses of Oak Valley Ranch (5 books)
  • A Good Horse (Horses of Oak Valley Ranch, #2)
  • True Blue (Horses of Oak Valley Ranch, #3)
  • Pie in the Sky (Horses of Oak Valley Ranch, #4)
  • Gee Whiz (Horses of Oak Valley Ranch, #5)

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