Riding on Air by Maggie Gilbert (ARC Review)

Release date: April 2013

Publisher: Escape Publishing

Number of pages: 127

My rating: 3.5/5 stars

Wow, this book was an amazing breath of fresh air for me. So why did I only give it 3.5/5 stars? Even though I enjoyed it a lot, and it stands out well from the rest of the pack, there was a lot that could've been done better.

Ok, I love horses. A lot. Even more than reading. Yet, last year, I gave up on horse books. Why? Because 90% of horse books follow one of these stock plots:

Plot A
Girl can't have a horse.
Girl finds abandoned/wild/troubled horse.
Girl bonds with horse.
They win a competition/everything is perfect!

Plot B
Spoilt rich brats ride horses.
Ride horses for around 2 pages.
Mundane teen rich girl bitchy drama that makes me want to claw my eyes out.

Plot C
Hardworking girl has trouble with her horse.
She becomes better.
They win a competition.

This is ridiculous. Horse books have become so boring for me. And besides that, most horse books are middle grade. I've only read one other young adult horse book, and it was awful.
If you feel the same way about horse books, Riding on Air is for you.

There's no mundane rich girl drama. No tacky storylines. No unrealistic storylines. Just real girls working hard to make it in the horse world.

Our main character is Melissa, and she has Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Her arthritis is very bad, and getting worse. She starts to struggle with her horse. She starts dating William, her childhood friend. Soon, everything comes crashing down on her.

Our characters were good, but most of them could have been better developed. Melissa was interesting, and I loved seeing her deal with her arthritis. Will was okay. I liked Tash and Eleni. They had great personalities, but they were developed enough.

The romance was alright. It was a little bit boring. Melissa was so insecure when the relationship first started that it drove me crazy. Seriously, a really hot guy asked you out. Stop stressing!

I loved the horse riding aspect of the novel. Some novels gloss over this, but Riding on Air left out no detail. We see Melissa struggle with collect and lateral work. Unfortunately, there is some dressage jargon used in this book, so it may not be suitable for those who do not posess much knowledge on the subject.

One of the major themes in this book is Juvenille Rhuematoid Arthritis. The author has obviously done a lot of research, and this was a very nice element that you do not usually seein young adult.

The pacing is alright. The start and parts of the middle dragged on. The book picked up some pace during the middle and the end. This really could have been better done, and some of the more mundane details could have been cut out to make a more interesting read.

The ending was by far the best part of the book. It was unexpected, and I felt that Melissa grew a lot as a character at the end. The end is very well executed.

Overall, this is an entertaining, realistic story about making it in the horse world. I recommend it to anyone who likes horses.

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


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