My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publication Date: September 12th, 2017
Publisher: Candlewick Entertainment
Point of View: 3rd Person
Recommended Age: 10+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Boarding School, Horses, Friendship
Trying to move on from her mother’s death and afraid of riding after a bad fall, plucky fourteen-year-old Kit Bridges doesn’t quite know what to expect when her father takes a position at The Covington Academy, a prestigious boarding school in England. Things are looking up when Kit meets her cool, possibly secretly royal new roommate, Anya, and the boys of Covington, like Will, with their charming accents. But she hadn’t anticipated such a strict headmistress as Lady Covington. Or the expectation that every student be a rider. Or the wild horse that she seems to have a strange and special bond with. While navigating new friendships, romances, and an alarmingly austere new environment, Kit needs to figure out whether she’s ready to get back in the saddle. And at the end of the day, it’s hard to tell who will be more changed by her arrival — The Covington Academy or Kit herself.
I only realized this book was a novelization of the Nickelodeon TV series ‘‘Ride’’ when I received my copy of it. I immediately checked out the series and it sounds great.
As did the book. And now that I’ve read it, I am so, so eager to watch the story unfold on the screen. I’ve always been fascinated with boarding schools, perhaps because I’ve never been to one and I’m experiencing it vicariously through the characters.
But an elite equestrian boarding school? I didn’t even know these existed. Granted, this is fiction, but it must be somewhat based on a real school? Maybe. Nonetheless, I want another life, in which I can decide to join this school. It’s so much fun.
I’m a little impressed and surprised. When I saw this book, I thought for sure it would be a clichéd story of girls competing against each other and falling for boys they never should have fallen for in the first place, but there is more to Kit—and Covington for that matter—than meets the eye.
Kit herself doesn’t want to ever get back on a horse again, after the brutal fall she had when she was younger. Strangely, however, she tames the wildest horse at Covington. Well, there’s also Elaine who wants to be the best in every way, Will and Nav who both covet Kit’s heart and Anya the RL princess in disguise. (And Josh, but he’s rather common.)
So yes, there will be clichés. Fortunately, it’s the sort of clichés that aren’t random and annoying but actually provoke conversation and events in the story. But mostly, it’s very entertaining. I love boarding school stories and animals in books, so this was it for me. I read it in a single day, and actually considered taking the day off work to finish it in a sitting, but I’d never work if I did that every time. Lucky are those who read for a living. Cheers.
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