Catch Rider by Jennifer H Lyne (ARC Review)

Release date: June 4 2013
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group
Number of pages: 228
My rating: 4/5
Note: due to Blogger being an absolute pain, the formatting for the cover and details are slightly different.
Wow, what a great book! This is only the third young adult horse book I've read (most horse books are for younger readers) and it's looking pretty good so far. I enjoyed reading it, but I did have some issues with the beginning.

Catch Rider is about a girl called Sidney, or Sid. She wants to become a catch rider, which is a rider who gets paid to ride other people's horses. However, her harsh home life and lack of money are huge obstacles.

I really loved how realistic this was. The decision to have a main character with an alchoholic for an uncle, an abusive stepdad, and hardly enough money to pay the bills was a great change from the usual story about snotty rich girls. This added depth and personal growth to the book.

I had a HUGE problem with Sid from the start. Despite claiming to be a humble, hardworking girl, she actually proved to be a bit stuck up. She was stuck about about her riding skills. At one point in the book, she lists all the things she can do one a horse. Now, I can't quote my review copy, but imagine if someone said something like this to you:

I can run 2 kilometres in 5 minutes. I was jumping over 2 metre high jumps from the time I was five! My shot put is so strong that after I throw it, you can't even see it anymore.

You'd want to punch them, right? This was annoying, and did not match Sid's character. Sid was supposed to be the opposite of a snobby rich girl.

Otherwise, the characters were alright. None of them were what I expected. The typical loving family? Non existent. A reliable person who's always there for you? Nope. Sid was a well developed tough girl. She's determined, and definitely a fighter. Her uncle was a hardworking guy, just as determined and tough as Sid was. However, the other characters weren't very good. Sid's mother and her stepfather fell flat. Her best friend bored me, and rarely appeared anyway. This was an area that could've used a lot of improvement.

My favorite part of this book was the realistic depiction of the horse industry. The author depicted the industry as one where the rich people have a clear advantage over the poor, which is very true. There are plenty of bitchy people in that industry. However, in the end, the author makes it clear that it is not always this way. Even the darker side of competition riding like doping were touched on.

After a rocky start, Catch Rider kept me engaged all the way. I would definitely recommend this for anyone who loves horses. It was realistic and exciting. Go out and grab yourself a copy!

An ARC was provided by the published via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


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