Join Up by Tudor Robins (Review)

Release date: 19 December 2015

Publisher: Tudor Robins

Number of Pages: 224

My rating: 4/5

I am a colossal idiot. I was sent this book for review months and months ago. I read it, and I've re read it several times since. I had almost completed my review.... And then I forgot to finish and post it. *sigh* Well here it is! My last re read was a week or two ago, so it's still fresh in my mind.

Eek, this was what I thought was going to be the last book in the Island Trilogy! But according to Tudor Robins’ blog, she’s realised that maybe it shouldn’t be a trilogy. Score!
And furthermore, this book isn’t about Meg and Jared anymore, it’s about Lacey! She’s definitely my favourite character in the series. 

Join Up follows Lacey as she works at a posh riding camp over the summer with her friend, Carly. The hours are long, the pay is bad, plus there’s this guy called Fitch… Oh, and a horse called Night. 
I have to say that I really did enjoy this book! I really liked the fact that the book was about Lacey and that there was a significant time jump. I felt that Meg and Jared’s story didn’t really have anywhere to go after Wednesday Riders... I mean, we had already seen how they met and got together… and then their troubles and their resolution. Not much more after that point! I always loved Lacey’s kindness and enthusiasm. And also her temper and impulsiveness. I have to say though, sometimes it didn’t feel like I was actually reading this from Lacey’s perspective. Lacey was always so enthusiastic and excitable in the previous books, and this Lacey wasn’t. I get that she grew up and went through some troubles in this book, but sometimes I just didn’t feel like I was reading from Lacey’s point of view. I felt like I was reading from Meg’s, who is much more levelheaded than Lacey. Saying that, at times I actually preferred reading from Lacey’s POV rather than Meg’s.

Fitch was a bit “eh…” for me. I liked the guy and his banter with Lacey, but he came off as a bit of a jerk sometimes and wasn’t the most interesting guy in the series so far. Fitch was generally likable, though. 

As usual, Tudor Robins writes some great coming of age content! Lacey’s situation with her friend’s boyfriend was believable and also kind of tricky. I really felt like I knew where Lacey was coming from with her concerns on the issue. Friendship and crushes can be tricky things (believe me, I know. Probably a little too well, haha). This is probably one of my favourite parts of the book, because I actually felt really sorry for Lacey! I really understood how she felt and why she was a bit stuck. Who hasn’t been in a super awkward situation with a crush and a friend?

I was really excited to read about Lacey’s situation with Night, but it kind of let me down a bit. I expected Night to be more of a complex horse, such as Jessie from Wednesday Riders, who was very sensitive and sore at times. A green broke horse doesn’t necessarily mean that the horse is unrideable, but I expected more of a challenge when it came to Night. Lacey seemed to be able to work with him quite easily, which I find to be a little hard to believe… I have known riding school horses (relatively quiet) that have been a bigger challenge than Night is in this book. Some green broke horses might be really spooky and shy at everything. Maybe they’re super sensitive and require a quiet rider and some gentle guidance (like Jessie, Meg’s horse from Wednesday riders!). Or maybe they have some vices under saddle. A lot of green horses might have trouble staying balanced, listening to aids, or picking up the right lead. I found Lacey’s situation with Night to be a little unrealistic.

Lacey’s troubles with her love life, camp, her family, and her finances are very realistic and well portrayed. I thought that Lacey’s concerns echoed a lot of other people’s around her age. Heck, I could even relate it to my own concerns. 

There was a bit of action happening in the book. I miss The Island, but I loved reading from Lacey’s perspective in a different setting. This is the first time that the series has really been away from the island, and while I missed the atmosphere I enjoyed the change of pace from the previous two books. The Island is mentioned a fair bit anyway, which is pretty cool. Julianne Hills is still a great setting, and once again Tudor Robins does an excellent job of setting the scene. I can easily picture it in my head. :)

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book for someone looking for a good horse or contemporary novel. As usual, Tudor does a great job with the location of this book, as well as the characters and their issues. If you are expecting a story highly focused on working with a green horse and its difficulties, you might be disappointed. There is a lot of horse related stuff in this novel, as well as some great coming-of-age issues. I feel that Join Up is a very well balanced book, and I very much enjoyed reading it. :)

A copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.


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