I was totally horse mad as a kid, and I still love to indulge in a horsey novel so I jumped at the chance to review The Promise Horse by Jackie Merchant, which is a new middle grade book out from Walker Books…
Harry is tired of being the tall new kid with red hair, big feet and freckles; the one with the dead sister whose voice follows her wherever she goes. Everyone says she’s imagining it, but she knows they’re wrong. If she was making Sissy up, wouldn’t she make her less of a pain? When Harry’s wish for a horse comes true and Marksman comes into her life, she isn’t sure that the impressive horse is the one for her. She doesn’t need another challenge. But could he be just what she needs to learn the difference between standing out and standing up?
This was a great read! I found myself caught up in Harry’s equine obsession right away, and found the book more moving than I had expected (or, maybe it’s that the bits that touched me weren’t the bits I expected from a story about a young girl who has just lost her sister?).
One of the things I really like about horse books for teens is that they aren’t driven by romance and love interests – I feel like so many books for this age group focus on getting the perfect boyfriend etc. This was a perfect example of that – it was all about friendship, and not true love (well, except love for the horses!)
Overall I thought this was sweet and touching, and I gave it 3.5 stars (and can I please move to the country and get a pony now!)
***The Promise Horse***
Genre: Contemporary (middle grade)
Source: Free book sent to me by Walker Books for review.
Themes: Friendship, grief, death