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Unbroken: A novel Hardcover – March 25, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Haas's (Fire! My Parents' Story) exquisitely crafted prose is the driving force in this heartfelt story of family ties, as the author traces the emotional journey of an adolescent girl in rural Vermont at the turn of the century. The novel opens as Harriet Gibson?better known as Harry?is informed at school that her mother has had a tragic accident; she dies soon after Harry arrives at home. "I used to feel a strong line from Mother's heart to mine whenever I saw her, and love moved along it like a telegraph signal. Now the line was cut," notes the grieving Harry. Her mother's will states that Harry is to live with her father's sister?stern, disapproving Aunt Sarah. Haas convincingly evokes the rigors and beauties of farm life, the pettiness of small towns and the sometimes hopeless tangle of blood relationships that can as easily wound as they can comfort and heal. As Harry struggles to break her colt?also orphaned in the accident?so that she can ride to town and continue her education, she also struggles to tame her grief and to hold her ground against her aunt, whose stubborn, outspoken nature mirrors Harry's own. It's not until another accident occurs, seriously injuring Harry, that the two begin to approach a measure of mutual understanding. Haas has a gift for description and graceful simile ("Night after night I lay still and narrow, like a wrinkle in the blanket"), and her characters are sharply observed, especially honest and wise 13-year-old Harry who can coax compassion from even her frozen Aunt Sarah. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-When her mother dies in an accident involving a horse and a Model T car, 13-year-old Harriet's life changes irrevocably. Left orphaned and grieving, she must move away from her friends and school to live with her stern and critical Aunt Sarah and her complacent Uncle Clayton on their farm. Living with them, Harriet is told some painful things about her family that make her all the more desperate to return to school and the way of life she has always known. To do so, she must train her stubborn colt so that she will have the means to get back and forth to town. In her impatience to tame the creature, Harriet seriously injures both of her hands. The accident forces her to realize that she has been too harsh with the colt and makes Sarah recognize that her treatment of Harriet has also been severe. Aunt and niece are then able to approach their relationship with a new appreciation and understanding of one another. Haas's memorable characters are well drawn and her descriptions of farm life in the early part of the century palpable. This is an emotionally rich and powerful tale of love, reconciliation, and healing.
Christy Norris Blanchette, Valley Cottage Library, NY
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 640L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow; 1st edition (March 25, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688162606
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688162603
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,008,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jessie Haas was born in Westminster, Vermont, and lives next door to the small farm where she grew up. She has written over 35 books for children and adults, including Unbroken, Chase, Runaway Radish, the Bramble and Maggie books, and Saige and Saige Paints the Sky, the books accompanying American Girl's Doll of the Year 2013, Saige. A serially monogamous horse trainer--one horse at a time, till death do us part--and a passionate reader, cook and knitter, she shares home with fellow writer Michael J. Daley, two cats, a dog, and a willful and beautiful Morgan mare named Robin.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on April 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I really liked this book. It was really emotional and you would think that it was a true story because it sounded so real. It really came from the heart.I would reccomend this book to anybody that likes horses.
The worst part of the book was the first chapter.Hariets mother had died from a wreck. she was riding her horse when suddenly a tractor and trailor came over a hill and hit her.In her mother's will Hariet's mother wrote for her to go live with her Aunt Sarah.She didn't like her Aunt.
The thing that was most vivid to me was the desription of the horses. She described them so well I could picture them in my head. I think the climax was when Hariet ran away from her Aunts house. Her Aunt had slapped her because they got in a fight. Hariet finally realized that they had to get along because she had no place to go.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Unbroken is about a girl and her colt who are orphaned soon after the story began. They are sent to live with stern, harsh aunt who doesn't speak too nicely about the girl's parents. The girl and her colt move on the farm with her aunt. She gradually begins to get used to her aunt and her ways but her aunt makes her ride on the colt, who is not yet broken in yet. Then the girl gets curious and finds secrets in the house (I won't tell you what) and also gets rebellious (And I won't tell you what she does, for you'll have to read to find out.) But over all, it was a great book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sylvia Rockstad on January 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
I loved this book, but think it should be reserved for readers over 12, as it has a lot of discussion of pregnancy. Specifically, of the heroine being born "too soon". The young girl is orphaned and finds out this "secret" from her mother's past when she is forced to live with an aunt. Great read, but better saved for teenagers!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
Unbroken is about Harriet (Harry) and and Kid, (a horse) two orphans. Harry is sent to live with mean Aunt Sarah. Aunt Sarah talks badly about Harry's mother. Harry doesn't want to stay, but gradually gets used to the farm, and Aunt Sarah. Since school is too far away to walk, Harry tries her best to train Kid in time for school. I thougt this book was so awesome! This book is definitely a must read so read it!
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By A Customer on August 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a good horse stpry. It is about Harriet Gibson (Harry) and her two year old colt; a Morgan who is called Kid.
When Harry's mother dies of a bad heart or from a riding accident with her mare Belle, spirited Harry has to go and live with her stern Aunt Sarah, and her Uncle Clayton. While her guardian/doctor, Dr. Vesper sells her old house she chooses top bring along two big carpet bags filled with her clothes, an unbroekn 2 year old colt, and her mother's sewing Machine. Harry thinks she will have bad luck there but she soon makes friends with her uncle Clayton's brother Truman and his old thiry year old horse, jerry and begains leading a farming life. Different from her Town Life. Harry continues living there, occasionally trying to break in Kid. When she drove him hard using forse she learns a lesson.
Nevertheless this is a good book!:)
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