To reiterate, definitely one of the best modern pony books I have read, although as haffy says in her review, it is in a way only nominally a pony book as the main story is about the relationship between the two cousins and their conflicting worlds, and how their intolerance of each other causes tragedy. Its also about how someone from a deprived background can escape to follow their dream. But thats not to say there isn't plenty of horsy stuff going on - tho not as much as in a traditional PT book for example.
The odd cliche creeps in (but not enough to have the cliche-o-meter smoking!) - the rich snobby rival, the hero with 'natural ability' but for the most part its a pretty original story. I actually thought something different would happen to what actually came about.
I like the 2 viewpoint narration which makes you understand the motivations of both the main characters, so even if Vicky is nominally the villain you still feel sorry for her and understand what she did.
I'd like to know which of the 2 characters other people preferred. Are we meant to like the 2 equally, or do you think that Declan is the most sympathetic?
I'd also be interested to know what younger readers made of the book - mysteryarab did you say you'd read it? To me it provided enough of a 'teen' element to seem realistic and keep teen readers happy but not enough to get up the nose of old farts. There was also real depth behind the story of the 2 teens, not just boyfriend and looking good stuff, etc. A good balance.
Seeing as i'm very into horses, and showjumping at that, I could really get into Vicky's equine world and relate to her. However it was Declan's parts, which intregued me most, and kept me entertained. Having half my family living in Northern Ireland, I recognised the places and slang that he used which made me feel more included in the story. The writing was excellent, and the descriptions of the horses were lovely. At first, I found Vicky a very dislikable character, I found it unreal that she couldn't spend any time with her horse except to ride him, so I was secretly glad when her love interest dumped her for being too much of a "princess". She slightly redeemed herself by the end though. I also loved hearing Declan describe everyday equine equipment from his outsiders view ("a big sandy field"- to us a menage, or "it was like a jacked, but with more buckles"- describing putting on a horses rug). So if readers are not into horses, the author has cleverly used Declan's ignorance to her advantage, so other characters can explain things to him. All the teenagers in the book were believeable, from their slang to their crash diets, so I really enjoyed that part of the book, again being things I can relate to. Spoilt Vicky's inner monologue was also great, saying everything that little selfish part of us wants to, but daren't! I was a bit dissapointed with the showjumping/competing aspect of the book. It describes a few shows, but not in much detail, so you don't get the baited breath feeling whilst reading through each jump in a round, praying they go clear. Or maybe thats just me :-)In other ways, such as the family drama it excelled itself. The ending also seemed a little too perfect for me, Vicky acted horribly and therefore lost everything she loved, it seemed a bit convinient that she should get it all back in a flash as soon as she showed some redeeming qualities. Saying that I still think its a excellent book, and overall, loved it, although it didn't focus as much on the horses as I would have liked, so as a pony book, i've rated it as 'Very Good'.
Some interesting comments mysteryarab. I think it was perhaps aimed at a more mainstream market than the horsy one which is perhaps why there was less of the jumping/other horse stuff etc than we may have expected. The horses were perhaps more of a backdrop, altho important. The story could really have been about different sports/past-times and would have worked the same way, tho I'm glad it was horses!
In a way I related more to Vicky than Declan (even tho I sympathised more with him) as I think I was probably a bit of a stroppy teen and I can remember what it was like doing/saying things you knew were wrong at the time but just couldnt help yourself. In some ways she reminds me a bit of the character of Jinny in the Shantih series in which you sometimes dislike her behaviour but still understand and relate to it. Vicki's possessive attitude to her horse when Declan is around is similar to the way Jinny feels when Marlene wants to ride Shantih.
I did also get annoyed by her initial reluctance to spend any time with Flight except for riding him, but in her defence I think she was brought up to see riding as a sport and not have a relationship with her horse. When she sees Declan bonding with Flight she is confused and upset altho she doesn't really understand why. Eventually she learns that she loves Flight and wants to have a proper relationship with him.
Sigh...I still haven't started it! (I know, pathetic). Lousy excuse, but the new job essentially takes over the whole work week...on the weekends I've been doing the everyday suff that has to get done (grocery shopping, laundry, etc) and catching up on sleep.
Eventually I'll get attuned to the pace (I'd better!), but not sure if it will be in time for this book discussion.
Maybe the next read could be The Little Black Pony by Walter Farley (an I Can Read It By Myself Book)....that's about my speed right now. ;D ;D ;D
It was quite a bit ago that i read it now but would agree with above comments in general. I liked the depth of the book and that she wasn't afraid to tackle issues. It was all done in a sensitive, kid/teen friendly way and to me was very believable indeed. She throughly deserves the awards and high acclaim this book has thus far recieved. To me it has the makings of a modern day classic....whether this is a good thing or not I'm not sure but it reflects the world we now live in and makes an interestting comparision to world portrayed in most 'hey day' pony books!
The character i most identified with was Declan...to me although it told both kids story he emerged as the main character and Vicky as the [vital] co-star, without whom of course there wouldn't be a plot.
I think the book represents a new 'breed' of modern pony book. We have had the pink fluffy pony book and the teen/glam pony book - now we have the 'gritty pony book' - perhaps we won't return to the traditional pony story but at least this sort of book beats the other two types of modern pony story. In fact in a way this book has a dig (possibly not intended) at the other sorts of book, especially the teen ones like Chestnut Hill, Pony Club Rivals, etc, in that Vicki is like one of the girls in those books but is made to see the error of her ways.
fizz: Is it too late to read the Francis book and watch the film?
Aug 17, 2017 22:08:46 GMT 1
fizz: My show went well, good to have being painting again
Aug 17, 2017 22:09:07 GMT 1
Claire: Glad the show went well, wish I could paint! Yes, join in with the film and book any time you want.
Aug 20, 2017 0:08:05 GMT 1
cally: I need to make $ to emigrate. I can write non fiction, but fiction has me stumped.
Oct 14, 2017 11:52:49 GMT 1
cally: I need to make $ to emigrate, buy a rural property in the Yorkshire Dales area, start an animal rescue sanctuary and a service to take animals in to see the elderly, sick, disabled etc.
Oct 14, 2017 11:54:33 GMT 1
cally: Oh I see how this works now- don't press the return button, eejit. How do I start to write a pony book having read hundreds, and not accidentally or intentionally accidentally 'borrow' ideas?
Oct 14, 2017 11:56:41 GMT 1
Claire: Hi Cally! What great ambitions!!
Oct 14, 2017 20:59:09 GMT 1
cally: My lap top stuffed so am trying to get all my stuff over to slow crap I pad so had to go through log in thing and change password so I hope I come up as me. So this is a test!
Oct 24, 2017 5:27:39 GMT 1
Claire: Yep Cally it's you alright!!
Oct 26, 2017 22:30:22 GMT 1
Claire: Hi all, just to say have put my 2 Christmas 'Pumble' stories in the Christmas 2017 in case anyone fancies a re-read.
Dec 24, 2017 13:48:15 GMT 1
Claire: Hi all apologies for not being around the last few days. Have been away travelling with no intyernet
Mar 8, 2018 13:53:52 GMT 1
Claire: Or even internet lol
Mar 8, 2018 13:54:08 GMT 1
brumby: Hi Claire, what has happened to the Pony Mad book Lovers Website??
Mar 18, 2018 8:23:22 GMT 1
Claire: Hi all sorry the website has been down due to technical problems with web host. All back up and running now!
Mar 22, 2018 19:19:12 GMT 1
Claire: Hi all the offical Reading Challenge thread is now up and running!
Jun 12, 2018 18:08:13 GMT 1
Claire: Hi all just to say have added a few Autumn/Halloween themed quizzes for you
Oct 9, 2018 15:02:48 GMT 1
Claire: Yet more Pooboards problems - sorry it is not letting anyone post as a guest at the moment - will contact them and try and sort it out.
Nov 4, 2018 12:50:07 GMT 1
aud: Can anyone tell me if they know of a Pony book that has a story line with A nesting Pair of Osprey Birds(thats as well as Ponies)i have been told it is either Alisons Island Adventure by Sheila Stewart or one of the Jinney books by patricha Leitch.
Dec 10, 2018 19:03:28 GMT 1
tali: One of the Jinny books has a sub story line of egg stealing so may be the one you are thinking of. It is one of the books that features the character Claire Burnley.
Dec 24, 2018 12:54:11 GMT 1
ginslinger: It is one of the early Jinny books. I only read the first few and I found the storyline upsetting.
Jan 4, 2019 19:17:50 GMT 1