Another move for Sadie, and another deployment for her dad. Sadie is sure this will be a very dismal time in her life until her parents agree to let her buy her own horse after the move. Dreams of riding and caring for her horse fill Sadie's mind, but she soon realizes there is hard work involved. Finding the right horse and the best place to board, learning how to be a real horse owner, and most surprising of all...learning that unwanted horses are being abandoned or sold overseas for there meat. Changing this may be impossible, but Sadie is determined to try.
Sadie's journey to save the unwanted horses is clearly a book for any horse enthusiast, but don't shy away if you've never so much as been within ten feet of a real horse. Valerie Ormond does a great job of making sure those readers who are unfamiliar with horses are given explanations of terms and walked through the basics of horse ownership right along with Sadie. Readers won't feel out of place in the barn thanks to this, as well as the realistic atmosphere created. You see the barn through Sadie's eyes and take the journey right along with her.
While this book is labeled as a young adult novel, I would say it is more of a middle grade level. The character is twelve years old, and the pacing is more in line with middle grade readers. Young readers won't have any trouble keeping up with the story at it progresses, but the moderate pace won't keep older readers waiting, either.
The story of Sadie not only finding the perfect horse for herself, but giving her heart and soul over to rescuing the unwanted horses being sold at auction is an endearing tale. Sadie has such a sweet nature that you can't help but route for her. Her courage is inspiring, and those that rally around her only add to the feeling of belief and hope. Sadie's story provides good lessons many children this age need. So many tweens are about to step into a world of peer pressure, challenges to their self-esteem, and questioning or their morals. This book provides reassurance that you can still have faith in yourself and your beliefs and make a difference in the world.
The only small issue I had with this story that Sadie didn't face more complications than what were presented. At one point her horse, Lucky, is stolen, but in regards to her quest to save the auction horses everything works out quite well. I thought having a few more stumbling blocks would have been more realistic and given Sadie a chance to really show her strength by pushing though a difficult trial. Aside from that, I did wonder why the police didn't use the GPS in Sadie's phone to track down Lucky, but that was a very small thing.
Overall, Believing in Horses is an inspiring story that truly highlights how even a child can make a difference in the lives of others, equine or human. Sadie not only affects the horses she becomes involved with, but she touches the lives of those who join with her. It's a lesson every young reader could stand to be reminded of more often.
Would I recommend this book? Yes. It's a sweet story that readers will love and be uplifted by.
Who would I recommend this book to? It's definitely geared toward the 9-12 age group, and it's a great, easy read for that readership, but teens and adults would still be able to appreciate Sadie's story.
Believing in Horses is available now through Valerie's website as well as Amazon.
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