One Year in Coal Harbor

One Year in Coal HarborReaders rejoice: Primrose Squarp is back!

Primrose—the invincible heroine of the Newbery Honor Book Everything on a Waffle—returns for another adventure-filled year in Coal Harbor.

Her parents, once lost at sea, are safe at home, just as she always believed they would be. But now other people and places that Primrose loves are in precarious circumstances. For one thing, Uncle Jack and Miss Bowzer can’t—or won’t—connect, no matter how hard Primrose tries to move their romance along. There’s also the logging of Mendolay Mountain, which threatens the woods Primrose has always known. 

And then there’s her new friend Ked, the foster kid who has just moved in with Bert and Evie. Ked has been picked up and plunked down in different homes his whole troubled life. And even though Evie has explained that it’s not possible, Primrose wishes there were some way Ked could stay in Coal Harbor forever.

Through a year of turmoil, Primrose is undaunted as she tries to save what matters most to her. Profound and insightful, hilarious and smart, National Book Award and Newbery Honor winner Polly Horvath’s new novel features an unforgettable heroine, a cast of unpredictable, irresistible characters . . . and recipes!


  • The Toronto-Dominion Children's Literature Award for 2013
  • The Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize for 2013
  • A School Library Journal Best Children's Book of the Year (2012)
  • A Boston Globe Best Children's Book of 2012
  • A Bankstreet College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year


"Excellent fun surrounds nuggets of wisdom, making for a great read or read-aloud to be enjoyed on multiple levels . . . " School Library Journal, Starred Review.

“…the author delivers a gothic tragicomedy that is both a worthy sequel and as able as Primrose to stand on its own.” Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review.

"Horvath skillfully balances the story's light and dark moments, leaving readers with an ending both satisfying and honest." Publishers Weekly, Starred Review.

"This novel is funny from top to bottom . . . laugh-out-loud comments on the human condition to the edges where humor merges with wisdom and sadness. Nobody does middle grade like Horvath." The Horn Book.

"Primrose’s voice is wise yet vulnerable as she continues to decipher the human condition . . .  [Horvath's] loyal followers will welcome the follow-up to a beloved modern classic." Booklist.

"Horvath’s sequel to her Newbery Honor book, “Everything on a Waffle,” is a perfect charmer — in fact, an even better, funnier, smoother novel than the first ... Hilarious and touching by turns, “One Year in Coal Harbor” shows Horvath at her best — with mini-marshmallows on top." The Boston Globe

“Woven throughout are glimpses of just what it means to be alive, of how to discern what you truly value and cherish, how to find beauty, even when it’s wrapped in anger and pain. Brimming with wit, imagination, and insight, One Year in Coal Harbour is at once contemporary and timeless.” Jurors for the Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize.


“Horvath returns with a valuable contribution to the Canadian canon of children’s literature… One Year in Coal Harbour is a timeless story of life in a charming Vancouver Island fishing village… Filled with quirky characters and infused with both humour and astute commentary on human nature, this delightful book is destined to become a Canadian classic… There is an honesty to the writing which doesn’t shy away from difficult issues, but navigates them with a gentle optimism… This book is everything that we want and believe children’s literature should be.” Jurors for the Toronto-Dominion Children's Literature Award .