Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Derby Horse~Mara Dabrishus | Review

Title: Derby Horse (Stay the Distance #3)
Author: Mara Dabrishus
Genre: YA Contemporary
Length: 202 Pages
Release: January 2018

A copy of this novel was received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

It can be hard to find good equestrian fiction. More times than not, there is something off in the balance of the story. Either the horse bits are glaringly wrong, the writing is stilted, or the horses end up making a very minimal appearance, serving as little more than a plot device. After this, the fourth novel of Mara's that I have read, I still believe she gets it right. 

Here we follow July Carter as she embarks on new adventures both at the track and in the dressage arena. This is the third in a five book series, and while I do think that it is slightly weaker than the preceding novels, it's still a solid addition to the story. Middle books, which are often the "bridge" books in a series, connecting the beginning to the end, often fall a little short, but this one clearly sets us up and points us toward what has the potential to be a great conclusion.

I don't want to go into too many details about the plot, since this is a later book in the series, but it deals with just what the title says: will they have a horse in the Kentucky Derby? 

All of the horse stuff made me itch to get back in the saddle. It also made me think about what my life could have been, had I followed any of those crazy daydreams I had as a teenager. Some of those dreams are still attainable, and I still have my horses to ride, so they haven't all died over the years. 

July is very relatable, even some of the more negative aspects of her character. She always feels that she has to fix things, or that she understands more than might be reality, or that she is integral to everything working. Some of these things can get a little grating, but sometimes it's because they hit too close to home and not because they are over the top. 

Beck is still the Beck that I grew to love in Stay the Distance, just a little more grown up now. I was glad that we got so much of him in this installment and hope that there is more to come in the future. 

This was overall an excellent read and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to read about horses or enjoys young adult contemporary/romance fiction. The setting might be a little different than you are used to, but I think a lot of people would enjoy it if they give it a chance.

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