Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Outside of a Horse

Rorby, Ginny. The Outside of a Horse.

Hannah is adjusting to her father being in Iraq and having to live with her stepmother and baby brother, but she thinks things will get better when he gets home. They don't; her father has lost a leg and is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. To escape her problems at home, Hannah volunteers at a local stable with Dillon, who rescues abused horses. In exchange for her work, Hannah gets one free lesson a month, and when her father's drinking and erratic behavior cause her stepmother to move out, Hannah starts to think that her father could benefit from being around the horses as well. Once he starts therapy, things improve a little, but matters are complicated when Hannah gets a horse who becomes injured.

Strengths: I'm not a horse person, but this was a compelling story that kept me reading. A students who REALLY likes horses saw this at the book fair, and I will order a copy for her to read next year. The tie-in with a returning war veteran will make this something that students interested in problem novels will enjoy as well.
Weaknesses: Hannah's horse losing a leg and getting a prosthesis seemed like a far-fetched coincidence, but I'm sure stranger things have happened.

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