Diamond Spirit, by Karen Wood

‘Hey, Dimey, you’re going on a holiday!’
Jess ran a soft brush over Diamond’s sides, making her gleam. The pony was a picture of health. ‘You and Rocko together, eating yourselves stupid for three whole weeks!’ Jess swapped the brush for a comb and began untangling Diamond’s thick black tail. Speckles and dots blanketed the pony’s Appaloosa rump and three distinct silver diamonds trickled down her hindquarters like falling stars.
Her phone buzzed and rumbled in her jeans’ pocket.
Shara: S^
Jess grinned and looked to the top of the driveway, where Shara stood waiting. she gave the tail a few more quick strokes and then pulled the pony’s lead rope from the fence. Shara was her buddy, her bestie…

Jess and Shara are best buddies, competing as a duo in local pony club events. Then Diamond has a terrible accident and Jess’s whole world starts to fall apart. Shara won’t tell her what happened. In the space of a day, Jess loses her beloved pony and her best friend. Gradually she makes new friends, and realises that it might possible to love another horse. But the pain of Diamond’s accident and Shara’s betrayal don’t fade quickly. There is a mystery around her pony’s death, and Jess is determined to solve it. She needs to understand before she can even think about owning another horse, or riding again.

Diamond Spiritis Book One in a new ‘horsey’ trilogy set in rural Australia. Jess has suffered her first big loss, or really, two losses. Friendships are very important, particularly to young teenage girls like Jess, but they are also very fragile. Karen Wood explores the world of horses and those who work closely with them. She explores themes like hatred, forgiveness, honesty and trust. There is also an exploration of connection with land and the idea that not all things can be explained scientifically. Readers who love horses will immerse themselves in familiar language, in a familiar world. Other readers will enjoy the themes of friendship and adventure. Recommended for upper primary to lower-secondary readers.

Diamond Spirit (Diamond Spirit Trilogy)

Diamond Spirit, Karen Wood
Allen & Unwin 2011
ISBN: 9781742373157

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author

This book can be purchased in good bookstores, or online from Fishpond.