Horse Mad Summer, by Kathy Helidoniotis

Reviewed by Dale Harcombe

I have to admit to being like Jenna in this novel, and not overly fussed on horses. However from talking to girls in the 8-12 age group, I realise I am in the minority. This book will certainly appeal to those with a passion for horses. But even those who do not share this obsession will relate to the problems that arise in friendships.

Ashleigh is desperate for her city friend Jenna, to meet her new best friend Becky. But as often happens with a threesome, Becky and Jenna view each other as rivals. This aspect of the story took me back to my own childhood and a similar event at about the same age. Tension builds between the girls. Ashleigh finds loyalty to one friend could well cost her friendship with the other. Any girl who’s ever tried to get friends from different worlds together will relate to Ashleigh’s experience of feeling ‘like the ham in the sandwich.’ The behaviour of Carly and the Creepketeers who make Ashleigh’s and Becky’s time at Shady Creek Riding club difficult, is also well portrayed.

Perhaps the ending was a little too neat but I doubt most readers will have a problem with that.

Girls from 8-11 will enjoy this story. They won’t have to have read the first in the series to be able to read this one.

Sure to find a receptive audience.

Horse Mad Summer, by Kathy Helidoniotis
HarperCollins ARP $14.99
Age guide 8+ exciting read.