by Laura Bloom and Jesse Blackadder
Reviewed by Sarah Custance
Laura Bloom and Jesse Blackadder are two award-winning writers who live in country Australia. In their new collaborative series ‘Dream Riders’ they have let their passion for country life and horses shine through. Laura and Jesse have approached this series as a tag-team writing duo, both contributing but one taking the lead each book. Laura Bloom has taken the lead on this first novel ‘Frankie’ and the second novel, ‘Storm’ will be written by Jesse Blackadder.
The book starts with main character Frankie struggling to fit into her new country life having left the city. Soon after moving her parents separate. This was not what she had been told country living was all about but at least she will finally get her dream of owning her own horse and going to Pony Club where maybe she’ll finally make some friends. Unfortunately her horse turns out to be a barrel of a pony named ‘Zen’ who doesn’t care about her at all and has a tendency to fart at the worst times. So what do you do when your not-so-perfect pony hates you, the girls at the local pony club think you’re dragging their team down, and your horse dream starts to turn into more of a nightmare?
Frankie turns to local horse whisperer Shannon who insists that Zen can be the perfect pony and Frankie can be a perfect ‘horse girl’ if only she can start to master ‘horse speech’, understanding horses on a different and more intimate level. But just as Frankie begins to feel comfortable, Shannon tells Frankie that they may need to close down her riding centre. Can Frankie work together with Zen to find a way to save the riding centre, make a friend or two and get her parents to be in the same room as one another or is it all too much for one girl and one pony to handle?
The book touches on some hard issues like separated/divorced parents, the sexual orientation of one parent changing, the difficulties involved with an unwanted lifestyle change, friendship dramas, bullying, cyber addiction, a minor mention of eating disorders, and a parent with a minor form of depression but each situation is dealt with using sensitivity and understanding and the book never feels weighed down by any of these fairly serious subjects.
This would be a great book for graduates of books such as the ‘Saddle Club’ who still love horses but would like something a little older or more challenging. Recommended age 10+
Walker Books Australia 2019 Paperback 240 pp $14.99 ISBN: 9781760650674