Northward to the Moon
by Polly Horvath
Random House, 2010
When her step-father Ned loses his job teaching high school French--the principal found out after a whole year that Ned can't speak French!--Jane's family is uprooted from the wilds of Saskatchewan. They leave the frozen tundra and cruel winters behind and travel the back roads and less traveled paths of Canada to find an old Carrier (Native American) woman named Mary who was like a second mother to Ned.
Mary gives Ned a big bag of money that was left behind by Ned's brother. No one knows where the money came from--everyone suspects it's stolen or from ill-gotten gains. Ned takes the money and his family and goes on a cross continent tour to find his brother and deliver the money. Searching in Las Vegas, Ned doesn't find his brother, but does end up with a lead to his estranged mother who owns a horse ranch in Elko, Nevada.
Stolen money, wild horses, a dark horse trainer, a step-father with a strange past, a mother with secrets, and an eccentric new family with crazy relatives, Jane learns about family and her own human need to nurture.
Although the cover art does not seem engaging enough for most readers this age--visual appeal is almost everything to middle school readers, the novel is a solid read. Perhaps with different cover art, this book would FLY off the shelves.
Recommended for middle school readers.
FTC Disclaimer: I read this copy provided by a publisher. This in no way influenced my review. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.