14 September 2011

Review: Horse on the Loose

Horse on the Loose (Pinto Mountain Series, #1)Horse on the Loose by Sara Steeves Dudenhoeffer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fourteen year old Jesse Whitecloud wants nothing to do with his smaller than small-town family and their wilderness lifestyle. Bored of his repetitive routine, Jesse feels overcome when his father continues to add more and more chores to Jesse's list of daily responsibilities.

That is when an overly enthusiastic girl named Danielle Becker moves from the city to an acreage beside Jesse's farm. Jesse is given the additional responsibility of showing this horse-crazy city girl the ropes. A friendship is sparked between them, and their daily rides give Jesse something to look forward to.

At home, Jesse still feels disconnected from his family, especially his family. Finally, one special night when a mare needs help foaling, the walls between his father and Jesse start to come down. But will all that change when a horse goes missing and Jesse is the one to blame? Will Jesse even get a chance to redeem himself

Horse on the Loose reminds me of middle school, when I would stop by the school library nearly everyday in search of new books to read. (And returning the ones I took home the day before.) There were shelves lining the corner of the wall by the entrance that were devoted entirely to fantasy and fiction. Two full rows on the shelves were given solely to The Saddle Club books, and I would go for those first as I tried to absorb everything I could about horses. I adored obsessed about horses. I drew pictures of them on everything, wrote speeches in class about them (read: every speech I wrote from grade 5-8 was about the subject) and just could not get enough. Reading Horse on the Loose brought back memories of all of those things, so it definitely has points in its favour for that alone.

The novel is very well written and informative, without coming across as trying to be that way, so one does not need to be an expert with horses (and related terms) to understand. It doesn't feel "dumbed down" at all, either, and I still found it enjoyable despite the novel not being directed at my age group. Plus, there is even a glossary in the back of the book to help clear up any confusion regarding horse types, colours, tack, and so on. Characters are realistic and it's easy to care about both Jesse and Danielle. I have yet to read the second book, Wild Hooves, but it is a definite on my list... as it is currently sitting on my shelf.

Horse on the Loose, and the second book, Wild Hooves, along with other books by Sara, can be purchased on her websites. Hint-Hint.

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