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Very Rich

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  207 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Ten-year-old Rupert Brown comes from an ordinary family. They live in a small house in the poorest section of Steelville, Ohio, and have little money or food. So when Rupert inadvertently finds himself spending Christmas at the house of Turgid River -- the richest boy in town -- he is blown away to discover a whole other world, including all the food he can eat and wonderf ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by Puffin Books
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3.45  · 
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 ·  207 ratings  ·  66 reviews

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Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺
Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada , but man oh man, this book felt like a bunch of random ideas cobbled together. I often enjoy middle grade fiction, however there were so many things happening here that the plot never did pull me in. And Rupert's everlasting hunger, that was just too much for me to bear.
First sentence: Rupert Brown came from a large family. They lived in a very plain small house on the edge of Steelville, Ohio. Rupert had so many brothers and sisters that it was like living in a small city-state.

Premise/plot: Rupert Brown is very poor. When he mistakenly walks to school on Christmas day-- which brings him through a very rich neighborhood--an accident leads him to spending the whole day with the richest family in town. The Rivers have their own unique--own CRAZY--notions of how
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'll start this out by admitting I was confused for themajority of the book. There was A LOT happening. Yet I still enjoyed it!

The writing is super easy to read, and I flew through this book in less than 24 hours. Now that might be because the target audience is younger than I am, but I've read some middle grade books that read like molasses. Way too slow to keep even my attention, let alone an actual middle grade student. However, this one is something I would have loved as a 12 year old! 

Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I adore Polly Horvath. This isn't her best book, but as always I love her fearlessness--she will go anywhere her story leads her, and is unafraid to explore the darkness with her small, steady, beam of hope and joy.
Rupert Brown lives in Steelville, Ohio, and he is poor. Very poor. He has no coat, no boots, and he sleeps on the floor. He has so many siblings he barely knows some of them, despite living in a tiny house. “Close proximity does not always make for coziness. Sometimes it is just crowd
Martha Meyer
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it
A hilarious read about poverty and wealth, hunger and hamburgers from Polly Horvath. Rupert is very poor and always hungry; there is never enough food at home. A ridiculous accident happens on Christmas Day that introduces him to the ultra-wealthy Rivers family. The book is a series of bizarre adventures hungry Rupert goes on with various members of the Rivers family, from time travel to a simple restaurant. None of the Rivers understand how badly Rupert just needs to eat. In the end, it is his ...more
Vikki VanSickle
With it's wacky adults, quirky children, and unpredictable magical plot, Very Rich reads like a Roald Dahl Christmas story. This is classic Horvath and would make a great family read-aloud.
Release date - September 25, 2018

At first I thought this was a Christmas book, but while the first few chapters take place on Christmas Day, the majority of the book does not. The story follows Rupert Brown, who comes from a poor family, and his interactions with the wealthy Rivers family.

This reminded me a lot of A Series of Unfortunate Events, especially in terms of its portrayal of adult characters. They’re quirky and somewhat ineffectual, while also comedic and entertaining to read about.

Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
I enjoy Polly Horvath's books. I was eager to read this new title. However, it was a bit messy for me. There were the quirky characters I expect and unusual happenings but it just did not come together. There seemed to be some heavy-handed themes of rich vs poor that were too caricatured for me. I have known rich people and they are not as clueless about the daily condition of the poor as the Rivers family. The people I know would have let poor Rupert eat his hamburger!
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As with nearly all of Polly Horvath’s books, I didn’t ever want to put this down. Also as usual, this book is so (pardon the pun) very rich and layered, so filled with wisdom and insight, that you overflow with so much joy and sadness and delight that you want to turn back to the beginning and start all over again as soon as you’ve finished it. If you’re anything like me, anyway. ;)

Based on some of the reviews I’ve read here, I think the magical realism might have thrown some people off. Persona
Oct 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I received a copy of this book for free in return for an honest review.

First off, let me say that it was a very fast read. Polly Horvath is a good writer, and pages turned quickly. I found the families interesting, and the main character endearing and heartbreaking as well, which leads me to the problem I had with the book... all the characters that Rupert interacts with, while quirky and somewhat charming, are also very selfish and thoughtless, even when they claim they are trying to remedy an
Oct 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Sometimes I struggle with stories told in a somewhat episodic fashion and that was the case here as well, a strong start though my interest waned with each subsequent adventure.

Ten year old Rupert comes from a large inattentive family with little money to spare for food or warm clothing. Cold and hungry, Rupert is frequently on the verge of collapse, and one day he does exactly that on the lawn of the richest family in town, leading to a Christmas celebration and other experiences beyond anythi
I'm sure many upper elementary readers will love this book, but all I can say is that it made me terribly hungry. I felt so sorry for the protagonist, ten-year-old Rupert Brown because every time he got close to being able to eat a decent meal, the chance slipped away from him, and back to his regular life he went. One thing the story definitely has to recommend it is Rubert and the very quirky and seemingly-selfish Rivers family. Rupert's family is struggling financially, and neither of his par ...more
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was very fortunate to receive a copy of this book in a giveaway. Thank you!

I read some of the reviews for this book prior to reading it (I really shouldn't do this!) and was prepared to be disappointed. However, after reading it, I was and I wasn't disappointed. Now, there is a contradiction for you. The book centres around 10-year old Rupert Brown who comes from an extremely poor family. They are so poor that they eat kitchen scraps gathered from restaurant garbage cans. The many Brown childr
Jill Jemmett
Dec 01, 2018 rated it liked it
This was an unusual story. It follows many adventures that Rupert has with the members of the Rivers family.

Rupert comes from a very poor family. They eat oatmeal for every meal because they can’t afford much else. The Rivers family is the opposite. They have every extravagance possible. Rupert ends up spending Christmas with them, but his great evening takes a horrible turn when Rupert loses all of the prizes he won in the games. Then over the following weeks, the members of the Rivers family t
Ann Jacobus
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
VERY RICH is a wacky story that lives up to the best of Horvath’s past work. It features appealing and sympathetic 11-year old Rupert Brown, his oversized, impoverished family, and Rupert’s unusual friendships with almost all the eccentric adult members of the very wealthy Rivers family. Rupert spends Christmas Day with the Rivers after being speared and zapped on their driveway gate in their home town of Steelville, Ohio. Horvath’s exaggerated humor is often dark and her style in this story ech ...more
Rupert is extremely poor. His family lives on oatmeal and kitchen scraps. He sleeps under the bed and wears all three of his shirts in winter. So it is really surprising when he finds himself at the richest house in town on Christmas. The Rivers family is very rich and very eccentric. They play games for their Christmas presents in a cut-throat fashion. Rupert is ecstatic when he whens all the presents; he is especially excited about the new pair of boots since his sneakers are wearing out. But ...more
J.L. Slipak
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it

I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

Welcome to a world of extremes and extreme opposites. In one family, poverty rules the roost. No food, ragged clothing, no bed, crowded living quarters and a sense of foreboding.

In the other family, riches are everywhere. There’s more than enough food with plenty to spare, clothes to cover a whole army, big rooms with lots of space and beds and a sense of fun and generosity.

So how would a boy from the world of poverty fair in the
Ms. Yingling
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Personal Copy

I was weirdly drawn to this book. Even though the description and reviews I read didn't make it seem like something I would enjoy, I checked out an e book version. I didn't get very far in it. When I had the chance to get a free copy, I grabbed it right away. Maybe it's the cover. No explanation.

It is a problematic title on so many levels, and even now that I've finished it, I don't know quite what to say about it. Pick it up and try it for yourself. It definitely has a Lemony Snick
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very Rich is a a quirky story with an interesting message about wealth and happiness. Full of rich language and unusual characters, it will appeal to readers who are fans of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The story has a timeless feel, at once both old-fashioned and modern. You follow a year in the life of Rupert Brown, an ordinary boy living in difficult circumstances. His parents are unhappy. His family is poor. His siblings are wild and unruly. And he has met a most unusual a ...more
Lynne Edwards
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tracy Smith
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
This had so much promise. I was thoroughly enjoying the eccentric characters of the Rivers family and was excited to see Rupert discover more of the world than had been available to him due to his family's poverty. The librarian living with the Rivers was a hilarious touch and Rupert discovering more of the family's story when riding with Mrs. Rivers was so delightful. But then came the disappointment - with no warning whatsoever, the story went from whimsically realistic to pure fantasy. Tables ...more
Merrilyn Tucker
Oct 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Rupert Brown's family is so poor that the younger children have to sleep under the bed of the older ones, oatmeal with scraps from the dumpster is considered a meal, and eucalyptus cough drops (which mother takes and eats) are birthday presents. Suddenly, Rupert is electric-shocked over the hedge into the yard of the richest family in town, the Rivers. He is taken in, fed, cared for, and included in the Christmas games. Never has he eaten so well! Never has he played games and won so many fabulo ...more
Teresa Bateman
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's always hard to define a Horvath book. Her mind swings in unexpected directions, taking the reader along for an always unique ride. Rupert comes from a very poor, very large family. The descriptions of their poverty are extreme and hyperbolic. Think Roald Dahl. That means he is always starving and never warm. When he ends up at a rich house for Christmas (which is a story in itself) he finally gets enough to eat then earns wonderful presents, only to lose them again. This singular event some ...more
Sarah Hay
Oct 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: j
This book feels like the love child of Lemony Snicket and Roald Dahl.
Rupert is a very poor boy living in Steelville Ohio. His family is not well liked as his brothers are known for stealing people's cats. By accident, Rupert finds himself on the lawn of the wealthy Rivers family on Christmas day and is invited in by a boy his own age. Rupert spends a glorious day eating amazing food and winning loads of prizes in family games. Expecting to go home with the loot Rupert is crushed when he loses al
Betty Brown
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Rupert lives in the poorest section of town. One day as he is walking past a gated mansion, he accidentally becomes stuck on the fence, is zapped by the security system, and faints. The Rivers family takes him in and invites him to join their Christmas festivities. Rupert has never eaten so much food, played so many games, or received so many presents. But before he can head home, he loses all his gifts in the final competition. Rupert thinks this is the end, but in the coming weeks each member ...more
Rick Stuckwisch
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The brilliant and amazing Polly Horvath continues to deliver the goods in her most recent book. I am constantly impressed by the quality of her writing, and by how distinct each of her books is. This one struck me as reminiscent of a modern Charles Dickens, a Roald Dahl, or a Trenton Lee Stewart. Polly has a way of looking at ordinary, everyday family life and seeing the miraculous there. This book combines some elements of fantasy (not unlike her previous book, The Night Garden), but its focus ...more
Engel Dreizehn
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
ARC Copy...I liked the themes and not just the title itself refers not so much on material "richness" but rather the very richness of life which must be enjoyed no matter how much money you have. I like the Rivers are "rich" in care and kindness, making it up to Rupert with a series of misadventures, which teach the important kind of "richness". The hijicks were funny and magical realism in nature too...I was in restaurant when reading the restaurant mishaps segment.
Mrs Mommy Booknerd
#FirstLine ~ Rupert Brown came from a large family.

A wonderful story that has stayed with me for quite sometime. I cannot stop thinking about everything that happened within the pages. There are so many wonderful and heartwarming things that happened, so many lessons learned. I adored the characters, story and settings. It was original and sweet. A great holiday read!
Heidi Burkhart
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love Horvath’s stories.

In this book though was a little frustrated that when the main character, Rupert was about to get some to eat (his family was exceedingly poor and he was always hungry) the opportunity changed or disappeared. It became painful to imagine this child with food continually just out of his grasp.

Otherwise, an enjoyable book
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Polly Horvath is the author of many books for young people, including Everything on a Waffle, The Pepins and Their Problems, The Canning Season and The Trolls. Her numerous awards include the Newbery Honor, the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, the Vicky Metcalf Award for Children's Literature, the Mr. Christie Award, the international White Raven ...more
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