The Showdown (2) (Saddlehill Academy)

The Showdown (2) (Saddlehill Academy)
Age Range
Release Date
July 25, 2023
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From the author of the Canterwood Crest series comes the second book in a middle grade series about an equestrian boarding school about Abby’s unmasking of her blackmailer only being the start of her problems.

Now that Abby knows which of her so-called friends is the one behind the video of her talking “trash” on Emery, she’d love to do something with that information—if only her blackmailer didn’t know Abby’s one real secret, the one she can’t risk getting out. So, Abby’s stuck. And, to make matters worse, she’s so rattled by the drama that it’s affecting her performance on Beau. Abby wants to be as great a rider as Sasha Silver, but how can she do that when she’s making rookie mistakes?

When tensions come to a head, Abby’s score at the shows isn’t the only thing in jeopardy—so is her place on the team.

Editor review

1 review
The Drama Continues!
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Abby St. Clair is back at Saddlehill Academy, but is still fighting with her step sister Emery over the incidents involving Selly and Nina. Abby steadfastly refuses to even discuss the incidents with the slightly younger Emery, and won't even talk to her. This causes problems with her team, and Thea and Vivi wish that Abby would at least discuss what happened. Abby is also still furious at her father, especially when he misses another of her Saturday competitions so he can work. Now that he is remarried, Abby is super protective of their time together. The team is doing okay, and Abby has hopes of getting to national competition. There are some students who have sponsorship deals for clothing or beauty products because they are doing so well. Abby is a little distracted by a cute rider from another school, Mila. The two get along, and Abby even invites Mila to a school dance. Her friends are all very supportive of the fact that she likes girls but may also like boys, and her father is supportive as well. No one expects her to have her identity completely figured out. After a screaming dispute in the stables during a competition, their coach Rebecca is very angry with Abby, Selly, and Nina, as well as Thea, who was trying to calm the group down. Will Abby be banned from competition? Will she ever make up with Abby? What does the future hold for her relationship with Mila? The book ends on a cliffhanger, so these questions may be answered in the next book, for which I have not seen a title.

Good Points
As in the first book, there are some fun things about Saddlehill Academy. The girls frequently go out to fancy dinners, there's a dance, and the whole idea of a boarding school appeals to many readers. There are plenty of equestrian details, and many students have to deal with blended families. Abby does finally come clean to Rebecca about the incident with Selly's race time, and Selly forgives her in front of Rebecca, but this is just an act. There's a little bit of progress made on this whole situation, but no conclusion yet. Rebecca is a steadying force who motivates the girls towards better behavior.

The constant drama was wearing. I would have liked to see Abby get come conseling to deal with her anger, and the fact that Selly and Nina were never punished for the blackmailing was a bit concerning. Younger readers will not mind either of these things as much.

I would have liked more details about the horses and the boarding school, but friend and family drama is very popular with middle school girls, so this should be a big hit for readers who enjoyed Hicks' Ride on or Nir's The Flying Horse.
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