Author: Mara Dabrishus
Genre: YA Equestrian/Romance/Sports
Release: January 2016
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Mara does it again, delivering a powerful novel that's not only filled with spot on horse racing jargon, but is also full of real family drama. In this novel we follow a young jockey, Georgie Quinn, through a year of life dealing with racing setbacks, love, loss, and the pain that comes with life.
Horse racing was an obsession of mine for a long time and I still have much of that knowledge stored in my head, waiting to be tested. Waiting to see if I can find flaws in what people are writing. It's not something I do on purpose, but it happens. But there was nothing to cringe at here. The aspects of racing that needed to be explained for the story were presented beautifully. During the racing scenes I was literally on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what would happen. I felt like I was there, in the saddle, or the stands, urging and cheering along with the characters. And it was amazing.
The other aspect of the story that was done brilliantly was the drama. Georgie comes from a racing family, has racing family friends, and is a jockey. Her life is woven into the horse racing world, so tightly knit that you can't have one without the other. And while I've never been in her position, all of the rivalries, manipulations, and backstabbing made perfect sense. Everyone has experienced these same things, to a degree. But horse racing attracts an interesting crowd. And those who make it work are sometimes among the most fascinating, for a variety of reasons.
The romance in this book lacked the near innocence of that from Stay the Distance, Mara's first book. Georgie and Harris were more intimately connected here, through their families, sometimes almost painfully so. Even with all of their obstacles they still managed to be a nice match and seeing their progression from beginning to end was beautiful. One thing that I loved about them was also there connection through horses. They actually genuinely care about the horses they own, race, train, and breed. And sometimes that's the only thing that holds them together. Sweet Bells and Roman were wonderful horses that made me want to go ride my own Thoroughbred, though not at the same speed.
The story is told from a third person perspective, following Georgie. Scenes from her past are woven in to the present, filling in holes from the very beginning. And it's just beautiful. So if you like horse, racing, and want to read about some crazy family drama with a nice love story thrown in the mix, definitely give this a try.