Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Review: Whirlwind

Summary: Here is the much-begged-for sequel to Shadow Horse. With a feisty female protagonist, a little romance, a lot of mystery, and a barnful of animals just waiting to be loved, this young adult horse mystery novel will have young girls galloping to the bookstore to grab their copy.

When thirteen-year-old Jas Schuler found her beloved mare Whirlwind dead in her padlock, she thought her heart would break. But now Jas knows the truth: Whirlwind is alive! Wealthy horse breeder Hugh Robicheaux faked the mare's death, collected insurance money, then sold her to an unsuspecting buyer. And he's going to get away with his crime, too—unless someone can find Whirlwind. And that's exactly what Jas plans to do.

But hunting for Whirlwind is dangerous. Hugh has threatened to destroy everything Jas holds dear unless she stops her search. As she struggles with her desire to find Whirlwind without endangering the people she loves, Jas must ask herself: Should she risk so much for a horse she may never find? This heartfelt YA novel by a highly regarded equestrian author will have young readers chomping at the bit for more. -- Laurel Leaf

Late last year, I read a YA mystery book called SHADOW HORSE by Alison Hart. I enjoyed this novel and I mentioned in my review that there were a lot of items that were left open-ended. I was very anxious for a sequel because I was curious about how some of the story lines would be resolved. Well, a few months ago, the sequel WHIRLWIND was published; and I think this book was just as good as the original.

I was so relieved that my major questions from the first book were answered in WHIRLWIND. I think I would have been disappointed to be kept hanging again! All of the characters that I had grown to love in the last book are back along with a few new ones. Of course, Hugh Robicheaux is also back and as evil and ruthless as ever.

As was the case with SHADOW HORSE, WHIRLWIND was a quick read and can be read in just a few sittings. Even though the book does deal with some very serious issues, especially pertaining to abuse of animals, it is a light (and fun) read. The mystery is interesting and the characters (except for the bad guy) are all likable.

One thing that I appreciated in WHIRLWIND was how much Jas matured throughout the story. At the beginning of the last book, she was very much a hot head and didn't stop to think about the effect of her actions. Because Jas was finally surrounded by people who cared about her, she began to truly blossom. I enjoyed seeing Jas face some ethical dilemmas and really think before acting. There are some very valuable messages in this book about not only growing up, but also protecting those we love (even when they are animals.)

Both SHADOW HORSE and WHIRLWIND are probably classified as Young Adult; however, I don't see a reason that middle graders wouldn't appreciate these mystery novels too. The books were extremely clean, and even though there was a little bit of romance, it was all just innocent fun.

You're probably wondering since WHIRLWIND is a sequel if it's necessary to read SHADOW HORSE first. I don't think so. WHIRLWIND does stand alone because Ms. Hart does an excellent job of filling in the past. However, I always prefer to read books in order, and I think I appreciated WHIRLWIND more because I knew not only the background story, but also the personalities of the characters.

If you know a girl who loves mysteries or horses, then you are definitely going to want to check out this series.

Thanks to Nancy Coffey Literary for sending me a review copy of this novel.

Make sure you come back tomorrow because Alison Hart will be stopping by with a great guest post and I will be giving away a copy of WHIRLWIND.


Sandy Nawrot said...

I was just going to say, the book sounds on the lighter end of YA, and I'm wondering even if my 12 year old (who thinks she is oh so wordly) would even think herself above it. It sounds good to me though, even though I might have to get all twisted about the animal abuse.

middle grade ninja said...

I love this book! And I'm excited to read Alison's post:)

bermudaonion said...

I never went through a horse period, but I definitely went through a mystery period, so I'm sure I would have loved this book!