The One Dollar Horse by Lauren St John. Orion.
Fifteen year old Casey Blue lives in East London’s grimmest tower block and volunteers at a local riding school, but her dream is to win the world’s greatest Three Day Event: the Badminton Horse Trials. When she rescues a starving, half-wild horse, she’s convinced that the impossible can be made possible. But she has reckoned without the consequences of her father’s criminal record, or the distraction of a boy with melty, dark eyes, with whom she refuses to fall in love.
Casey learns the hard way that no matter how high you jump, or how fast you gallop, you can never outrun the past.
I loved horse books when I was younger, my copy of Jill’s Gymkhana actually fell apart through repeated readings, so I was intrigued by this contemporary book that sounded like it had a similar horsey theme. When my copy arrived I was really taken but its appearance, the contrast of the black and white photographic cover with the bright pink page edges is really striking.
I really enjoyed reading this book, it’s somewhat predictable in that way most sports based stories are (whilst i love sports stories and don’t mind this in the slightest I know not everyone feels the same) but there are some lovely facets to the plot that make it an enjoyable, captivating read. Casey is an appealing character, and I found I really got behind her and her one dollar horse Storm Warning.
Whilst I liked this book a lot, I did have a couple of minor quibbles. A number of the characters are referred to with their full name – her dad is frequently referred to as Roland Blue in particular. I found this a little jarring. The pacing of the book is also a little unusual, it covers quite a long time so has jumps in from period of action to period of action with a short explanation of what has happened in the mean time, this generally works well but a couple of times I felt like I’d missed out by not getting to read about things in the in between times.
This is the first book of a trilogy, but also works well as a standalone – there is only one plot thread left completely unresolved by the end of the book and whilst I really want to know what happens next I don’t know whether younger readers would care so much as it features a minor character. I am pleased that the second book Race the Wind is already out, I shall be getting hold of it as soon as I can.
One Dollar Horse is published by Orion Children’s Books in the UK. Whilst I was provided with a review copy of the book all of the opinions expressed are my own.