A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Catch Rider is the fast-paced story of 14-year-old Sidney, whose goal is to be able to ride any horse. She has a hard life: Her father died recently, and her mother has taken up with an abusive, controlling boyfriend who doesn't like Sid. Her Uncle Wayne helps her with her horse training, but he's an alcoholic and isn't always reliable. Sidney lives in a depressed mill town in Virginia where there aren't many opportunities for young people who don't have money. People at school make fun of her for being poor, although she doesn't care what they think. And she won't quit until she exhausts every hope.
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What's the story?
Sidney's home life has been a mess since her father died and her mother took up with an abusive boyfriend. The only relief she finds is going to Uncle Wayne's barn to ride and train horses. Growing up in a depressed mill town, Sidney is surrounded by people who have no hope of a brighter future, but Sidney has dreams: She wants to become a \"catch rider,\" someone who can ride any horse. When Sidney gets a job at a fancy show-horse barn, she works hard and is given an opportunity to make good on her dream. But just when everything finally seems to be going her way, she discovers that opportunities can be taken away as freely as they're given. But a catch rider can ride anything, and Sidney decides to live up to the title.
Is it any good?
What makes protagonist Sidney likable is that she's as hard on herself as she is on the people around her, and she won't quit until she exhausts every hope. Sidney has a hard life and is surrounded by depressing situations, but her sarcastic, no-nonsense observations make it clear she won't let herself be brought down by her environment. The fast-paced story doesn't let up, as Sidney must continually confront the challenges of both her troubled home life and her life in the competitive world of the riding ring.
Talk to your kids about ...
Familes can talk about horse stories. Why are they so popular? What other books you've read or movies you've seen feature horses as part of the plot?
Sydney doesn’t care much for school but reads plenty of books about them. What subject interests you enough to read about it outside of school?
Sidney's friend encourages her to tell someone that her mom's boyfriend hit her. What would you do if you knew your friend was keeping a secret like that?
- Author: Jennifer H. Lyne
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Friendship, High school, Horses and farm animals, Misfits and underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Clarion Books
- Publication date: June 4, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 288
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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