Thursday, October 2, 2014

Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally

Racing Savannah* * * * 

They’re from two different worlds.

He lives in the estate house, and she spends most of her time in the stables helping her father train horses. In fact, Savannah has always been much more comfortable around horses than boys. Especially boys like Jack Goodwin—cocky, popular and completely out of her league. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries.

With her dream of becoming a horse jockey, Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules either. She’s not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack…


Savannah wants more than what she has right now.  Like most people, she wants to reach beyond that.  But her vision isn’t as big as other teenagers.  Her dad is a groom.  She wants to go a step up and be an exercise rider.  And if she wants to dream really big, a jockey too.  Those are wonderful aspirations for horse lover to have.  But the sad part is how completely removed she feels from any possibility of receiving a higher education.  It isn’t that she isn’t interested.  But how could she possibly afford that?  For a family that makes so little that eating at Wendy’s is a special night out, just the cost of college applications and SAT’s seems like an insurmountable challenge. 

After showing an ability to calm down a horse that has been giving the owners of Cedar Hill Farms a difficult time, Savannah is hired on as an exercise rider.  She is elated.  This is a dream come true.  She is doing what she loves while making money that will help her family.  But her new role comes with its share of problems.  The biggest one being Jack Goodwin.

Jack Goodwin is taking on one of his father’s many lessons/tests that will prepare him to run the farm when his dad retires.  The most current is the mother of all tests….running the farm for a year.  That includes managing the grooms, trainers, jockey, etc.  When he sees Savannah’s ability with his problem horse, Tennessee Star he hires her as Star’s exercise rider.  He spent half a million on a horse that has yet to win any race and he can’t figure out why.  Maybe with Savannah’s help he can still make the horse a champion and prove to his dad that he didn’t make a terrible investment. 

But Savannah proves to be a challenge as well.  He’s ridiculously attracted to her but his father has very strict rules about fraternizing with the staff.  And regardless of the rumors that are passed between the staff at the stables and the housekeeping staff, Jack isn’t interested in taking advantage of any girl let along girls that work for his family. 

A relationship between a girl from a family that can barely scrape two pennies together and a boy whose dad just hands him a half a million dollars to buy a racehorse seems impossible.  Particularly to their parents that keep warning them away from each other.  They are from completely different worlds and neither really know how to navigate or understand each other when they aren’t on common ground (the stable or school).  But at some point they’ll both have to grow up a bit and decide if those struggles are worth conquering in order to be together. 

One of the things Miranda Kenneally is really great at is portraying human imperfections.  And sometimes those imperfections can be really painful.  She is also wonderful at making you constantly second guess the relationship between her main characters.  Why does she do that?  My guess is that she wants us to feel the uncertainty her teens are feeling.  If I am correct then she is quite successful.  Each of Kenneally’s books has had me guessing until the very end.  And each time I reach the end I am immensely satisfied.  

Being a fan of contemporary YA, Miranda Kenneally’s books will always be an auto-buy for me.


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