The Steeplechase Secret (Free Rein)
Fifteen-year-old Zoe is finally getting the hang of life at Bright Field Stables. She's ready to take it easy and enjoy some downtime with her family, her best friends, and her horse, Raven. But then, Zoe, Becky, and Jade notice some strange things happening at the new steeplechase race track that has the whole town abuzz with excitement. Zoe promised her mom she'd stay out of trouble for once . . . but a little investigating couldn't hurt, right?
Includes an 8-page insert packed with photos from the TV show!
Zoe's close relationship with her mother and her sister, Rosie, is especially nice to see, and she does still talk to her father via Skype, which is a reality with which many children have to deal. Jade and Becky are fairly stock characters, but Mia is quite sympathetic even though she isn't always nice. It's a pleasant change to see a rich, mean girl portrayed as a human being rather than just a literary device, and it speaks well that Zoe tries to understand the other girl's perspective.
Horse stories have a small but steady fan base, and it's always good to see a new one. Jessie Haas' Rescue is one of my recent favorites, and I love Hapka's Ponies of Chincoteague series. Free Rein, with it's wonderful Raven, will be a big hit with readers who either ride horses or would like to, and who also can get their teeth into a good mystery.