Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: December 3, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: horses, responsibilities, family obligations, class differences
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley.
Last book we received by M. Kenneally: Things I Can’t Forget
Summary: New town, new school, new friends: Savannah moves with her dad and his pregnant girlfriend to Goodwin farms in Tennessee for a new job as a head groomer. Savannah has always been good with horses and immediately tries out to be an exercise rider. Soon she is working side by side with the Goodwin’s son, Jack, who is also in her grade but learning to take over his father’s business. Despite their differences, more is growing between them than just friendship. Meanwhile both are working to secure their futures and also make the most out of their senior year.
Reading a Miranda Kenneally book is equivalent to sitting down to coffee with an old friend. It’s comforting and it’s familiar in a way that never feels old but can also be totally refreshing and brand new.
This is my way of telling you that Racing Savannah is my new favorite in the Hundred Oaks collection.
Both Savannah and Jack seem a lot older than their seventeen years and I loved that. Savannah is focused on creating a lifestyle for herself where she is comfortable and not always worrying about money. After watching her father struggle through her childhood and now with a sibling on the way, Savannah wants more for herself than that. Except college is not even on her radar. I haven’t come into contact with a character who felt this way… maybe ever and it made me really admire Savannah because she was so driven but in a completely different way than most of her peers.
And then there’s Jack. He may live in a big house and be on track to take over his father’s farm but the way Kenneally made him seamlessly transition between this boss-like figure and a regular (super cute, funny, flirty, adorable) teenage guy? I loved that so much. I kept forgetting that Jack was in high school, and I was so impressed with his work ethic and his belief in his own work but also the struggle to get his dad to take him seriously and trust his business decisions. That’s a lot of grown up worries for the normal high school senior.
When Savannah and Jack start working together on one horse, their chemistry is immediate from the beginning. They are both fighters and their families are important to them. But with the Goodwin golden rule about employees and family mixing… they settle on a friendship or try to. Savannah showed a lot of strength and self-control during some of her moments with Jack and I just felt myself inwardly applauding her because when a guy is good looking, wears a cowboy hat, and is funny… that has got to be tough. But she was so self-aware and knew what she deserved, and it made me root for her more and more.
The thing about knowing yourself and knowing your place… in both of Jack and Savannah’s cases, this could only take them so far. Both of them needed to learn that other instances in life can affect their choices, that sometimes life is about being flexible and being open to new experiences, and maybe standing up for yourself in a way you never imagined.
Racing Savannah is just about the full package when it comes to the YA contemporary that I like to read the most. Supporting family characters were flawed by genuine (I loved Savannah’s dad even if he didn’t always get it), Savannah’s budding friendships with Rory and Vanessa, the suspense built with horse racing details, the old pal that made our main character fall in love with horses initially, and (I’m giddy about this) the appearances of so many beloved Hundred Oaks characters.
So basically: I read it, I loved it, and I want to read it again. But what else is new?
As part of the Xpresso Book Tour for Racing Savannah, you have the opportunity to win a pair of Ralph Lauren riding boots (or another pair at equal or lesser value):
Follow along for the rest of the tour:
–Reading and Writing Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, and Romance >> Dream Cast
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