Author: Lauren St John
Genre: YA Contemporary/Equestrian
Length: 326 Pages (Paperback)
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
I picked this book up earlier this year when I was in London. Being an equestrian, I'm always interested in trying out horse novels. And I had just been to cross country day at Badminton, so that was an extra encouragement for me to read this.
While I really enjoyed the overall flow of the story, I found it too unbelievable to really be pulled in. It had a very fairy tale vibe that I think it would have benefited without. Yes, it's possible this one dollar horse could become a champion, it's even possible that Casey could be the rider to get him there. It was more the amount of time and lack of experience leading up to this event that I found unrealistic. They just didn't have enough time or training to improve that much. I know everything doesn't have to be realistic, and generally I'm fine with that, I just would have liked a little more realism from this.
The characters were somewhat lacking in development. I found Casey's father completely infuriating and he never grew on me. After some of the things he did, I don't think I could have forgiven him. But maybe Casey is just a better person than I am. Casey and the rest of the characters were also lacking though. Although we followed Casey's story and spent a lot of time with her, I never really felt like I got to know her. It seemed like a strange dream that I was watching from a distance.
While this definitely had it's faults, I did enjoy it overall. The horsey descriptions were quite good and I felt like I was in the moment at times. It often reminded me of the bonds I've had with my horses over the years, which was nice. The underdog story is always a fun one to follow, so it was nice to see Storm and Casey come out on top, even if I didn't think the journey was the best.
The story does have some romance, but it's very minor. It almost reads like a middle grade book. I think it's targeted for young adults and adults, but would work for a younger reader. None of the romance or criminal activity is ever explored in too great a detail to be unsuitable for a nine or ten year old.
Enjoyable and overall well written story. I don't think I will continue the series, but I'm sure that if you like horses and equestrian competition you would enjoy this read.