Born to Run (North Oak #1)
Rebel House Ink
Published March 1, 2015
About Born to Run
Experience the glamorous, fast-paced world of horse racing in the young adult series North Oak.
Running away from the scene of a murder is not how Alexandra pictured spending her thirteenth birthday.
Then again, she wasn’t expecting to be swept into a world of high-stakes racing and multi-million dollar horse flesh a few days later either.
Alexandra Anderson is on the run from the law. When the thirteen-year-old orphan can run no further, she collapses at the gates of the prestigious racing and breeding farm, North Oak. Horse racing strikes a deep chord in her. She hears a higher calling in the jingle jangle of bit and stirrup and in the thunder of hooves in the turn for home. It tells her she has a place in the world. But when the racing headlines find her on the front of every sports page, she realizes North Oak is no longer a safe haven… or is it?
I like a lot of elements of this book. Alex is thirteen and in the foster care system, specifically in a group home, which isn’t something I see written about very often. The way that she interacted with the horses was really sweet. It reminded me of the scenes in the movie SEABISCUIT where Toby MacGuire’s character and Seabiscuit bond.
I think because of the cover, I expected Alex to learn to ride and maybe compete? She doesn’t ride a horse in this book in the series, but she does learn to care for the horses and some of their riding equipment. While I missed the riding, I enjoyed the relationship between Alex and the horses.
The book follows several characters’ perspectives, mostly to reference some bigger picture series elements and give a view of what’s happening beyond what Alex experiences herself. I thought the writing style was cool– it reminded me of some of the older horse books that I’d read before. I think the series is set in the present day, but it has a little bit of a more classic feel to it.
On the whole, I thought it was a really cool take on the girl-and-her-horse story. My favorite thing about it was honestly the formatting. I love that the bottom of the pages shows a horse running a race and advancing toward the finish line, just as the story does. Great touch!
I think readers who enjoy stories about horses or looking for books about growing up in the foster care system should check this one out.
Recommended for Ages 12 to 14.
Major characters are white. Alex was maybe in love with another girl? I couldn’t tell if it was romantic or more in a sisterly sense.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Strong profanity used somewhat frequently. Alex calls a girl a shaming name.
Possible crush/love between two girls.
Alex witnessed two gunshot deaths. Some brief descriptions of physical, psychological, and emotional abuse. Brief descriptions of a mare in labor and a stillborn foal.
A girl adds whiskey to her grandfather’s morning coffee, fixing it the way he likes it. She later implies that he’s an alcoholic who would spend all their money on alcohol. Adults drink champagne at a celebratory dinner.
Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of BORN TO RUN in exchange for my honest review.