Monday, November 23, 2009

Review: Shadow Horse

Summary: Horses + mystery + rescuing abused animals = a triple crown of perpetually popular preteen genres!

Thirteen-year-old Jasmine is found guilty of assaulting Hugh Robicheaux, the owner of the horse farm where she works. But she's still determined to prove that Robicheaux killed Whirlwind, the mare she loved. Jas is sure that Shadow Horse, a scrawny brown gelding she rescues at a horse auction, is the key to the mystery—but just how is Shadow Horse connected to Whirlwind?

Deftly written by a teacher and equestrian who has authored more than sixty books, this heartwarming and inspiring Edgar Award nominee will have special appeal for mystery fans as well as young horse lovers. -- Random House

A few days ago I reviewed a book for young readers called HORSE DIARIES: BELL'S STAR by Alison Hart. I really enjoyed the book and I think young girls are going to love it! Along with BELL'S STAR, the author also sent a mystery book geared towards middle graders and young adults called SHADOW HORSE. SHADOW HORSE was a Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award Nominee back in 2000; however, it is being re-released in May 2010.

I thoroughly enjoyed SHADOW HORSE and I think kids who enjoy mysteries are going to appreciate this story. It was a very quick read for me (I read it in two sittings) because I couldn't put it down. Ms. Hart did an excellent job of developing the character of Jas and making her believable -- I like that she was a complicated 13 year old with "normal" feelings. Given her circumstances, Jas' feelings of anger and resentment were dead-on as far as I was concerned. I think young girls are going to feel an affinity with Jas and especially her feelings of loyalty.

I haven't been reading many mysteries lately, but I found that I really enjoyed this one. There was just enough suspense and intrigue to keep things interesting for me. I also think young readers will be kept guessing and appreciate the little twists and turns that appear into the story. If I am any indication, SHADOW HORSE will quickly draw the reader in. From the first few pages of the book, I felt an attachment towards Jas and her plight; and I was certainly anxious for her to solve the mystery.

Along with SHADOW HORSE, the publisher is also releasing the sequel WHIRLWIND. I definitely intend to read this book because there were some issues left open at the end of SHADOW HORSE. I am looking forward to learning what happens to Jas and her grandfather, and I'm especially curious to see how things play out for Robicheaux. I think both SHADOW HORSE and WHIRLWIND are ideal for young girls who enjoy mysteries and/or books about horses.

Make sure you check out my giveaway post to win a copy of SHADOW HORSE and BELL'S STAR just in time for the holidays! Thanks to the author for sending me a copy of this book.


bermudaonion said...

This sounds like the perfect book for young girls - a horse and a mystery. Glad to see it's good.

alison said...

Hi Julie!

I was so excited to read your reviews of Shadow Horse and Bell's Star. Thank you for your great comments. I will definitely send you Whirlwind this spring when it comes out. I can't wait!
Have a great holiday, Alison

Gwendolyn B. said...

I know I would have loved this story when I was young - and I'd probably enjoy it now, too!