Garlick, Nick. Storm Horse
January 31st 2017 by Chicken House
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
After the death of his father in the 1960s, Flip has to move from Amsterdam to a remote Dutch island to live with his aunt and uncle on a farm. His mother left when he was younger, and his father was a career thief, so a quiet country house with his cheery aunt and his quiet and stalwart uncle is not the worst place to be. He meets a girl who does not talk, can hang out with his cousin, and is given a hard time by local bullies, whose father owns the local hotel. He also has rescued a horse who escaped a sinking ship, and is allowed to raise it on his uncle's farm. It takes a lot of money to feed a horse, however, and money is tight. Flip sells the record player that was his mother's and buys a little time, but an odd incident with the horse in the hotel puts him in peril. The hotel owner wants to buy his uncle's farm and build another hotel on it. How can he save his new found home and keep the horse that he has come to love?
Strengths: I liked this one. It moved quickly, and kept me interested. It was a good length and didn't spend too much time on any one topic. I liked Flip, and the other characters were intriguing as well. I could use a whole lot of books like this-- stand alone, fairly upbeat, adventurous, and fast paced.
Weaknesses: The plot of a hotel trying to take over is not new, but the setting made it more interesting. The cover isn't great, but I think I can sell this to a lot of readers.
What I really think: Oddly compelling. I think this will do well with boys who like Watt Key's Fourmile. It has that sort of more mature feel without being utterly depressing. The Dutch setting is a bit quirky but not hard to follow.