Author: Maggie Dana
Genre: Middle Grade Sports/Equestrian
Length: 176 Pages
Release: February 2012
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
I received a free copy of this novel through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Kate blames herself for the death of Magic, a valuable show horse, and swears of riding. When Kate gets a summer job helping out a wheelchair bound teen, she doesn't realize that horses are part of the package. Now she has to face her guilt if she's going to help Holly. And when one of the girls gets injured and is out of the competition, Kate has to decide if she can step in to fill the missing gap.
I really enjoyed this story. It reminded me of all of the horse reading I did when I was younger. Being an equestrian myself, I always enjoy a well written horse related read. This one fit both of those requirements nicely.
The story is rather predictable for anyone who's read a lot of these types of novels, so it may not appeal to all readers. Personally I don't find that to be a negative aspect. If the story is well written and enjoyable, I will like it predictable or not. This is kind of a coming of age story. Kate has to accept things in her past that she wishes she could forget, all while dealing with her new job and snobby girls who want everything handed to them.
The characters here were likable. Kate and Holly are the main characters we get to see and they become friends immediately. Angela, the brat whose mother tries to run the stable, is both easy to dislike and easy to feel bad for. When you see her with her mother it's easy to understand why she might be the way she is. At fourteen I would hope she might be able to outgrow some of that, but it's not the easiest age to overcome such things.
The main thing that I found too extreme here, was the fact that everyone from Kate's old barn automatically blamed her for Magic's death. While it was a terrible occurrence, accidents do happen and treating a child so cruelly was taking things too far for me.
The horse event was nicely described. A little over the top at points, but that just makes it more exciting for young readers. It was nice to see some development with the characters and where they were headed next. Overall it was an enjoyable read and I would recommend it to those who enjoy easy to read horse related stories.