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from the bookjacket "Ada Blackjack was an unlikely hero-an unskilled 23-year-old Inuit woman with no knowledge of the world outside Nome, Alaska. Divorced, impoverished, and despondent, she had one focus in her life-to care for her sickly young son. In September 1921, in search of money and a husband, she signed on as seamstress for a top-secret expedition into the unknown Arctic. It was controversial explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson who sent four young men and Ada Blackjack into the far North to colonize desolate, uninhabited Wrangel Island. Only two of the men had set foot in the Arctic before. They took with them six months' worth of supplies on Stefansson's theory that this would be enough to sustain them for a year while they lived off the land itself. But as winter set in, they were struck by hardship and tragedy. As months went by and they began to starve, they were forced to ration their few remaining provisions. When three of the men made a desperate attempt to seek help, Ada was left to care for the fourth, who was too sick to travel. Soon after, she found herself totally alone. Upon Ada's miraculous return after two years on the island, the international press heralded her as the female Robinson Crusoe. Journalists hunted her down, but she refused to talk to anyone about her harrowing experiences. Only on one occasion-after being accused of a horrible crime she did not commit-did she speak up for herself. All the while, she was tricked and exploited by those who should have been her champions."
For anyone who has ever endured the insufferable pain, the soaring excitement, and the relentless shame of adolescence, critically acclaimed author Jennifer Niven shares her own hilarious and touching tales of teenage life at a Midwestern high school in the 1980s. If you had found Jennifer Niven in the looming halls of Richmond, Indiana's lone high school in 1985, she would have had enormous hair and been wearing her favorite yellow Esprit shirt. She would have been flirting with Tommy Wissel, and passing notes to her best friend Joey about whether Dean Waldemar was going to ask her to the dance. And her last name would have been McJunkin, because Niven is the pen name she planned to use whenever she finally graduated and became a famous writer/actress in some big city far, far away from farms, tractors, mullets, and food festivals. In her entertaining and heartfelt memoir, Jennifer takes readers back to that thrilling, excruciating, amazing, unnerving, awkward, and unforgettable time -- high school -- when life's greatest problems revolved around saying and doing the right thing, wrestling with geometric theorems, fretting over a bad hair day, waiting for the weekend's parties, trying not to die of boredom, and dying to be noticed by the most popular boy in school. It was a time of feeling fearless and invincible, with miles of firsts still to come. From meeting her best friend for life in Mr. Foos's first-period geometry class to partying one last time before college -- when not just the cool kids but the hoods, the geeks, and the normal kids gathered together to say good-bye -- Jennifer shares the funny, poignant, and silly stories of a simpler time and place. Irresistibly charming and utterly true, The Aqua Net Diaries is one girl's unique yet undeniably universal survival story of the best years of her life.
[From the back cover:] ONE SUNDAY WHEN SHE IS TEN YEARS OLD, VELVA JEAN HART IS SAVED. But being saved isn't anything like Velva Jean expected, and life soon brings devastating changes: her father disappears on one of his adventures, and her loving mother becomes gravely ill. Before her mother dies, she urges Velva Jean to "live out there in the great wide world." The only world Velva Jean knows is her home in the gold-mining and moon-shining mountains of Appalachia. Her secret dream is to become a big-time singer in Nashville--until she falls in love with Harley Bright, a handsome truant-turned-revival preacher. As their tumultuous love story unfolds, Velva Jean struggles to find happiness. Will it be as the demure wife Harley wants her to be? Beautifully written, this is an unforgettable story about love, spirit, and finding the courage to follow one's dreams.
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