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Nobody's Horse (Abby Lovitt, #1)
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Nobody's Horse

(Horses of Oak Valley Ranch #1)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  1,182 ratings  ·  135 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
Paperback, 272 pages
Published 2010 by Faber and Faber (first published 2009)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,182 ratings  ·  135 reviews

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Jacqueline J
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
Clare O'Beara
I must have a British edition, because reading reviews I see that a horse in this book is called Ornery George, whereas in my book he is Grumpy George which is better. Maybe some editor didn't think British kids would know what ornery means, which is unlikely.

This is the tale of Abby, a schoolgirl in 1960s California, who learns to grow up, strengthen her attitudes and sense of self worth, observe adults, and start taking control of her life. This occurs through the twin media of horse training
Amy Raby
Sep 18, 2013 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 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
I really enjoyed reading this book. I liked how Abby treated others. She was respectful, but was able to get her point across. I didn't like how obedient Abby had to be at times. It almost seemed as if she was afraid of her parents.
I loved how the author described the scenery. It really made it seem like you were there. I love how she really makes the horses come to life. I didn't like how she portrayed Ornery George. She sometimes made it seem like how it was his fault that he didn't like bein
Jessica Wheeler
Oct 01, 2009 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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: girl-power, animals
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 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 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 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!!!
Jul 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One Sentence Review: I was determined not to let this horsey book win me over since I loathed and despised horsey books when I was a child, only the darn thing charmed me when I wasn't looking and I inadvertently became a fan.
Sep 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome book that tells the story of a girl that lives on a barn.
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
A good book for girls and young women (and 62-year-olds) who love horses (and wrestled with family, religion, and middle school). Young Abby has to deal with a strict religious father, a brother who couldn't take it any more and left, a mother who tries to keep the peace, friends and acquaintances at school who are deep in the vicissitudes of junior high girls (which is a strange and unpredictable place)... but she has the horses. Her father buys, trains and resells horses, and Abby helps train ...more
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
GREAT book! I have been searching far and wide for a good Christian book about horses. I loved Winnie The Horse Gentler, and am now looking forward to reading this series. It's about a girl named Abby who trains horses. She develops throughout the book from being a girl who does what her dad says to a girl who actually learns from the horses she works with. This book was amazing and Jane Smiley's writing style made it even better. I am going to recommend this book to anyone I meet, because it is ...more
Cheryl Neer
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-youth
Jane Smiley writes with wonderful description of the characters and the scenery and setting. However, she sometimes she writes with so much detail at the expense of the plot. If you persevere, you will find a book with multi-strand themes of a 7th grade girl in school, a family farm, the girl's relationships with horses, and much information on training horses. I would recommend this especially to 10-14 year old horse crazed girls and found it an interesting read. I look forward to the other boo ...more
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That’s the thing about my Goodreads reviews. Sometimes you’ll get deep philosophical musings on erudite books. Sometimes you’ll find an under-loved gem. Sometimes I’ll pan a popular book. And sometimes books with not much plot but LOTS of well-done horses get all the stars.

I want 4,000 books basically just like this.
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Revisiting my youth. I would have LOVED this book when I was in middle school and wanted a horse more than anything in the world. She tells the story well. And readers can learn about horses, horse tack, and much more. This is a lovely read. So glad there are still young girls out there who love horses!
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really liked it, however it is a bit confusing with all of the horses names and I did get lost halfway through the book the first time I read it, but rereading it a second time made it a lot easier to understand and therefore more enjoyable to read!
Patricia Wchman
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will definitely read this series and probably the rest of Jane Smiley's work. She has a clear, straight forward style while telling a good story. Her characters are good, likable people with flaws and virtues. I don't usually like ya novels but I loved this one.
Jacqueline D'Acre
A great raining manual for horse trainers!

I bred and trained horses for 20 years and Jane Smileys excellent descriptions of enlightened horse training are wonderful. I also am an author and every book I write has horses.
Becky Prunty
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A jem of a book

Growing up the daughter of a minister myself, I certainly can relate to this book! Genuine and lyrical prose.., I simply loved it.
Parker Burton
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was intriguing and impactful with the realistic story of Abby and her family's ranch.
 Julie Caesar (Chiyu)
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: animals
It wasn't bad but nothing really happened throughout the novel.
Katy Lovejoy
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm glad I found this book again
Hannah Clennnon
Mar 01, 2017 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 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 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
Nov 05, 2011 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
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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

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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