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HaBO: YA from the Turn of the Century

Bitchery reader “Smelly Feet” writes:

I found it in my highschool library in the early 2000s and I think it was published in the early to mid nineties. I remember a lot about the storyline but no names, though I’m reasonably certain the word Red is in the title. It’s a modern day young adult novel about a young teenage girl who lives in a farmhouse but whose family aren’t farmers. She has many brothers and sisters and they all look rather alike so she gets annoyed that people keep asking which sibling she is.

She meets a slightly older teenage boy who’s moved to town to live with a relative and is working in the general store. He gives her a bag of cookies, saying it’s a special. She thinks he likes her older sister but he’s obviously desperately trying to get her attention, usually by borrowing without permission things he thinks would impress her.

The main plot is that she finds a very old paved trail out the back of her family’s property that might have been an old road and she decides to clear it. It goes very far and she eventually starts camping out when it gets too far to go back each night. She finds a field with a horse that once belonged to a friend of hers who moved away, and later while camping she’s confronted by a bear? Or a wolf? I think she doesn’t check in so the boy comes looking for her, getting himself horribly lost. And I forget why but for some reason she springs the horse from it’s field.
Eventually she finishes the trail and she agrees to date the boy if he stops being so crazy.

That’s a lot of detail- I’d be surprised if someone didn’t come up with this one. But how come this girl didn’t have sixteen bodrillion mosquito bites sleeping out on a partially cleared road by herself?


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  1. 1
    Kat says:

    It sounds a lot like ‘Chasing Redbird’ by Sharon Creech.
    Zinny and Jake are the main characters.

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Kelly says:

    No helpful comments, other than that is certainly NOT what I think of when someone says “turn of the century”!


  4. 4
    mirain says:

    Good question… when DOES “turn of the century” start to mean 2000? Obviously it ought to now, but I don’t think many people think of it that way.

  5. 5

    That was a fast ID. :) Ouch, your mosquito thought reminds me of a childhood afternoon when I got bites all over the back of my neck!

  6. 6
    Ciara says:

    Chasing Redbird by Sharon Creech, one of the best YA authors around.  Looking at it as I type.

  7. 7
    SF says:

    Thank you! Thank you!

    *bows humbly to smart bitches and runs off to see if there’s a copy at the library*

  8. 8
    Tlonista says:

    And her name was Zinnia!

    Sharon Creech also wrote a book about a side character in Chasing Redbird, Salamanca – Walk Two Moons I think, which was also good.

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