From School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Abby Lovitt, first introduced in A Good Horse (Knopf, 2010) returns. The teenage daughter of a respected horse trader, Abby can't remember not riding. She loves her beautiful but green horse, True Blue, but is stuck at an impasse training him. Her time is constrained even more when she is tapped to ride Pie in the Sky, a prize jumper whose owner, Sophia, no longer wants to ride. While working with Pie, Abby realizes how much she loves riding and how important it is to her to do something she's passionate about. Sophia recovers her desire to ride after seeing Abby having so much fun on Pie. Abby also learns lessons about pride and the importance of family and friends. Her relationships with her family are well drawn, but her friends are one-dimensional and often introduced without explanation. The northern California setting and late-1960s time frame seem tacked on-they are not important to the story. Abby does much thinking and internal reasoning, making this a very character-centered novel. The book contains many details for horse-crazy readers, and the intended audience will probably be familiar with the specialized equestrian vocabulary frequently used. Purchase for fans of the first book.-Lisa Crandall, Capital Area District Library, Holt, MIα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Tween girls with a passion for horseback riding, or horses in general, will find a wholesome and credible peer in ninth-grader Abby Lovitt, who was first introduced to readers in The Georges and the Jewels (2009). Abby’s narration sticks closely to her experiences growing up in well-described Carmel, California, ranch country in the late 1960s. As she shares horse wisdom with newer riders, she learns that she, too, has a way to go before claiming expertise, especially about what care and training her beloved horse, Blue, needs. Smiley’s extensive, quickly introduced cast of characters may overwhelm some readers, but those who are horse-hungry will easily overlook this and eagerly follow Abby’s adventures, foibles, and fresh insights in the arena, along with her feelings and questions as some of her old friends leave and potentially new ones appear in her world. Grades 4-8. --Francisca Goldsmith
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