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The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  800 ratings  ·  227 reviews
A determined 12-year-old girl bikes across the country.

Introverted Bicycle has lived most of her life at the Mostly Silent Monastery in Washington, D.C. When her guardian, Sister Wanda, announces that Bicycle is going to attend a camp where she will learn to make friends, Bicycle says no way and sets off on her bike for San Francisco to meet her idol, a famous cyclist, cer
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published 2018 by FSG/Margaret Ferguson Books
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4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  800 ratings  ·  227 reviews

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Anne O'Brien Carelli
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could give this book six stars. It is a Master Class in how to write a book that ages 8-14 will thoroughly enjoy (and older, including adults, because of the wonderful writing). The writing is so clever (!), the characters are highly entertaining, and the entire premise is adventuresome and yet charming at the same time. It is a really funny book - sometimes laugh-out-loud -- to the point that I found myself reading passages aloud to anyone who would listen. I was immediately attached t ...more
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
This is a book that truly deserves the word "adventure" in its title! I loved the way the author created a quirky but realistic cast of characters, which will help readers suspend disbelief as they're carried along on this amazing bike trip. Coming summer 2018, this would make a great read for families on road trips.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was honestly one of the most delightful books I've read--humor and heart and adventure and characters you can't help but love. Highly recommended.
The term “quirky” has gotten a bad rap recently. I blamed forced quirk. Have you ever read or watched something where the book or movie is just trying too darn hard to make you fall in love with the story? Happens all the time, my friend. You see, lots of folks mistake “goofy” or “incongruous” with true quirkiness. Then there’s the fact that poorly done quirk wears out its welcome pretty quickly. Sustained quirk is an artform. It makes an agreement with the consumer to suspend just the right amo ...more
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a lovely heart warming story. So much adventure with a large dash of hijinks. Funny and exciting, this was “real life fiction” with an addition of a splendid supernatural twist, fantastical characters and lots of American geography. Food is surprisingly played out in detail and Oh! and don’t forget the running of the pigs, something that made me laugh out loud.

I think what was really attractive to me was that there was a lot of hope in this book, a lot of positivity, a lot of joy. The worl
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
Bicycle is a girl that will stick with you as you go about your day. I think I actually was more like her when I was her age, and wish I was more like her now. I simply love the various messages of this book, and you can't go wrong with encouraging kids to make friends and get outside!
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
I just couldn't get into this one. Nearly Silent Monks who say only eight words, one of which is "sandwich"? And that's just the tip of the iceberg. It's trying way, way too hard to be quirky.
Sarah Johnson
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fantastical, fun and heart-warming
Leonard Kim
Sep 13, 2018 rated it liked it
A debut novel and a “quirky” novel and falls a little into the pitfalls of both. Despite that, this book is hard not to like.
Jo-ann Walsh
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
@kidlitexchange #partner
Thank you @kidlitexchange for the review copy of The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle! All opinions are my own.
I absolutely loved this book! A very young girl shows up at a Mostly Silent Monastery in Washington, D.C. wearing a shirt with a picture and the word “Bicycle” printed on it. Sister Wanda and the monks at the monastery call her Bicycle and raise her as their own. Sister Wanda home schools Bicycle who is a quick learner! One day while she’s out shopping with th
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 3-6-fantasy
Bicycle is dropped off as a 3-year-old orphan at the Mostly Silent Monastery in Washington D.C. No one knows where she came from. So, the strict, no-nonsense head nun of the monastery, Sister Wanda decides to become her guardian, and cares for her wisely. Deciding to home school her, Bicycle (named for the T-shirt she is wearing when she's dropped off at the monastery) proves to be a very sharp girl. She soon becomes a favorite of the monks, who are only allowed to utter eight words, yes, no, ma ...more
Barb Middleton
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adventure
I fun book. Very imaginative and quirky. Doesn't quite come together in some parts but the character arc is well-done and I couldn't put it down. How can I not love a story about biking!
Mar 29, 2018 rated it liked it
You can tell the author knows cycling with some unrealistic adventures for the kids.
Ben Guterson
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Charming, inventive, and extremely enjoyable road novel--I was happy to follow Uss's plucky hero, Bicycle, on her ride from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco, and I'm hoping there are more journeys ahead. Thoughts of Pee-wee's Big Adventure kept coming to me as I turned the pages, though Uss's lyrical and lovely creation is all her own. The novel is whimsical without turning too cute, and the imaginative episodes with a benign ghost, a slow-food chef, a curious inventor, and many more kept me a ...more
Ms. Yingling
Apr 17, 2018 rated it liked it
ARC provided by publisher at ALA Midwinter

I really wanted another bicycle adventure like Bradbury's Shift, and love the cover on this. It is, however, a fantasy book. Clutch, the bicycle, is sort of inhabited by a ghost. It also had a lot of very quirky characters and events. These don't do as well with my students, so perhaps this book would be more successful in an elementary school. I wish more students rode bikes-- they give children so much freedom, and it's good to see Bicycle enjoying thi
Thomas Bell
Aug 23, 2018 rated it liked it
It was okay. An interesting book, but sometimes altogether too weird.

For example, there are actually 3 talking Bicycles in this book - Bicycle herself, her bike haunted by a Civil-War southerner, and finally her smartbike. Also, the nun really isn't that good of a caretaker. She's just not, even right from the beginning of the book. Third, every situation pretty much goes Bicycle's way eventually. She is careless, but that is almost praised quite often. And everyone that meets her instantly like
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juv-fiction, reviewed
A foundling, a "mostly silent" monastery, a bicycle with some pretty incredible technology, a ghost from the Civil War, a cross-country trip. Sounds improbably incongruous, but trust me, these disparate elements all come together in an engaging and adventurous story. You'll enjoy getting to know Bicycle and the friends and supporters she meets while riding from DC to San Francisco. With a forward-moving plot and 23 shortish chapters, this book would work well as a classroom read-aloud. And reluc ...more
Melanie Dulaney
"The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle" has it all-adventure, humor, drama, information and so, so much heart. Bicycle has been raised by residents of a "mostly silent" order in a monastery in Washington, D.C. She, naturally, chooses to speak very little until her desire to meet her cycling hero launches her onto a two-wheeled quest to San Francisco. She meets a wide variety of characters along her well-researched route and each one of those contributes to her personal growth and the entertai ...more
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book came to me at an interesting time. I have been following the progress of a person who called himself the Cycling Sketcher. He started in Virginia and bicycled to California. As often as he could, he would accompany his daily progress with a watercolor sketch. This is basically what the protagonist in this story does as well. Given that she is supposedly 12 years old and has only a small amount of money, you know the story will be completely far-fetched (and it was), but it was rather e ...more
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: magical-realism
This was SUCH a delightful read. Echoes of The Phantom Tollbooth at times with just the right amount of off-the-wall absurdity balanced with very real feelings of loneliness and how we make our own families and destinies.

Also, the Mostly Silent Monks and the Eight Sacred Words were LOVELY and also hilarious and as the world's foremost 'robots/androids/cyborgs are people too' banner-carrier, I was delighted by Fortune's sentience and that it was counted among Bicycle's friends.
Feb 01, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. What a delightful little book! Through a quirky storyline, sweet characters, some magic (ghosts, talking bicycles, a Derby horse named Cannibal), and a cross-country trek, we get to know Bicycle and watch her make friends all across the country in spite of herself. The humor was in just the right doses (the Mostly Silent Monks sure were entertaining), and the humanity of the people Bicycle met on her adventures was inspiring. I'm impressed with this debut novel, and hope Uss is workin ...more
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lovely juvenile fiction novel, part fantasy/part adventure genre, about an introverted orphan, uniquely named Bicycle, who leaves her guardian at the Mostly Silent Monastery in D.C. and begins a trek on her old bicycle, Clunk, to San Francisco to make friends with Zbig, a famous Polish pro-cyclist. The cross-country journey is filled with colorful characters, history, sights, life lessons and adventures.
Feb 11, 2019 added it
Shelves: chapter-books
I couldn't finish this one. I couldn't get past the feeling of it being too unbelievable (even though I know it's fantasy! It's just too close to reality yet not.). Still I think kids will love it and I think I would have enjoyed this much more reading it aloud with my 6 year old who would more easily go along with the fun of it.
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: j-fic, friendship
This book is about a girl named Bicycle who makes the journey from DC to San Francisco on her bike. It was whimsical, a little goofy, and fantastical. I think readers would find it an easy read if they are not intimidated by the length of the book. The chapters are pretty short and there is enough action to keep them engaged. Cute read.
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I started reading this book because my 10 year old son was reading it for a school book club. It was such a delightful book! I loved all of Bicycle’s adventures. It was warm, humorous, adventuresome, surprising, fun and I never knew what kinds of characters she would meet at her next stop! I loved this book.
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, lib18
a pleasant cross country road trip, with interesting people, including one ghost, met along the way. If you like gently diverting journeys made by girls trying to avoid being sent to Friendship Factory camp (shudder) that are improbable, even fantastical in part, without being over the top whimsical, youl
Jessica Anne
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is caaaayute. I don't know how much eight year olds will be into it, but I loved it. it further made me want to bike across the country, and I hope it inspires some young girls to want to too! (or just someone to name their kid Bicycle, it's cute af).
Rebecca Whitney
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
My son loved this book and might even vote for it for this year's DCF award, I thought the story was just a little too ridiculous for five stars. Everything falls into place for Bicycle, and although her journey is super engaging, memorable, and inspiring, I think it all works out just a little too neatly to be super satisfying. But it's a great adventure tale, regardless!
Stephanie Lucianovic
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This middle grade novel, about a girl who escapes a forced friendship camp in order to bike her way from D.C. to San Francisco in search of a true friend, is funny, sweet, exciting, and quirky. It's a perfect delight of a read.
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a sweet little road story, once you get over the absolute horror of the thought of a twelve year old girl biking across country alone. But Bicycle was plucky and determined, and was never really alone anyway. How to make friends? Get a bike. Dobranoc.
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Christina Uss has ridden her bicycle across the United States both lengthwise and widthwise, and has worked as an adventure tour guide in fifteen states, leading cyclists of all ages through various mountains’ majesty and all kinds of fruited plains.
Even more than pedaling across state lines, Christina loves books, especially ones that remind us all that the world is wonderful, weird place. She