September 5, 2011

Wild Girl - by Patricia Reilly Giff

There are many books out there about a girl and her horse, but none told quite like this.  When Lidie's mother died, her brother and father left their home in Brazil to try their luck in New York, raising and training horses for a rich family.  Meanwhile, Lidie stayed behind with her aunt and uncle and worked on the family farm, learning to ride and dreaming of the day she would be reunited with her family. When she is twelve, Lidie finally moves to New York to be with her father and brother, but nothing is what she expected. Not school, not speaking English, not her family.  Not even the horses.

Through alternating chapters, the reader also learns the story of the horse Wild Girl, told from the first-horse point of view.  You can tell that the author not only loves but really understands horses from this exceptional writing, and it's probably the closest any of us will ever come to seeing a horse's thoughts.  Eventually, Wild Girl and Lidie end up on the same farm, and it's only a matter of time before the two realize they were meant to be together.

This is an interestingly written, sometimes fast and sometimes slow, touching horse story.  The language is sharp, as you'd expect from this talented, award-winning author, and the emotions are strong and real, if perhaps a little overdone at times.  This is a fun book, especially if you love horses.  I'm guessing the main readers will be tween girls, as not many boys will want to carry around a book that in bright pink says "Wild Girl."

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