Mean Girls meets Black Beauty in Horse Girl by celebrated author Carrie Seim--a funny and tender middle-grade novel about finding your forever herd. This book is funny and exciting. Beautifully portrays both the pleasures and risks of riding horses and also of being a teen. Very original, and a great pleasure to read.--Jane Smiley, Pulitzer Prize-winning author
Wills is a seventh grader who's head-over-hoof for horses, and beyond excited when she gets the chance to start training at the prestigious Oakwood Riding Academy. But Amara--the Queen of the #HorseGirls--and her posse aren't going to let the certifiably dork-tagious Wills trot her way into their club so easily. Between learning the reins of horse riding, dealing with her Air Force pilot mom being stationed thousands of miles from home, and keeping it together in front of (gasp!) Horse Boys, Wills learns that becoming a part of the #HorseGirl world isn't easy. But with her rescue horse, Clyde, at her side, it sure will be fun. Complete with comedic, original hoof notes to acquaint the less equestrian among us, Horse Girl delivers everything a young readers wants: mean girls, boy problems, and embarrassingly goofy dad jokes. And it does so on the back of a pony.
Gr 3-5—Seventh grader Wills (or Willa) has always been a true horse girl, so when her family moves to Nebraska from California, she finally gets her chance to take horseback riding lessons. Wills is excited to begin her horse girl journey, but there are challenges. Whereas Wills is just learning how to properly ride and jump a horse, her riding partners at Oakwood Riding Academy are years ahead of her. Plus they all seem to ride their thoroughbred horses so elegantly, while extra-tall Wills gets paired with an equally tall Clydesdale horse named Clyde Lee. Needing one more rider to participate in the annual Oakwood Invitational competition, Wills must gain the approval of horse captain and champion Amara, learn how to ride without Clyde, and find out who is leaving her mysterious handwritten notes. This narrative offers a fun story of fitting in, a slight mystery, and friendly competition. Wills's mom is deployed overseas as a pilot in the air force, and her father is caring for Wills and her 16-year-old sister. Pages include footnotes with further information on horse etiquette and vocabulary, handwritten notes, and text message conversations. Characters are described only by their hair color. Wills has frizzy dark hair, and three of the other girls (triplets) have blonde hair. VERDICT A great alternative to the more mean-girl "Canterwood Crest" series, without losing the relatable preteen voice and story line.—Anna Taylor, Chattanooga, TNCopyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.