Waterstones gave me a copy of The One Dollar Horse by Lauren St John to review. It's coming out on 1st March.
Here's the synopsis:
Casey Blue loves horses but living, as she does, in the inner city with her father, who is not always on the right side of the law, her dreams of becoming an event rider seem out of reach. Until one day she rescues a horse from the knacker's yard. She works hard waitressing to keep the horse, whom she names Storm Force at her run down local stables, and she nurses him back to health. In time a sleek and highly strung thoroughbred emerges from the bag of bones she rescued and Casey sets about finding out who her horse really is. When Casey is talent-spotted and sponsored she and Storm Force move into a different riding league and suddenly her dream of competing at Badminton is within her grasp. But dreams can turn into nightmares, and Casey is just about to come face to face with the worst nightmare ever! A real life thriller that delves into the competitive and elite equestrian world of Grand Slam riding with all its highs and lows, jealousies, envy, triumphs and tragedies.
Being that this is marketed as a children's book and I'm 30 it's safe to say I am very much not the target audience. But I really enjoyed it. It's the perfect length for an older child/young teen and is easy to read without talking down to the reader.
Casey is a very believable character who you just want to do well. But at the same time things aren't easy for her and she has to fight her corner just as we all do. I liked that, it added to the realism of the book.
Towards the end there were one or two bits that I thought were rushed or were otherwise glossed over. That's my only criticism of the book though.
The story ends on a high but with one or two loose ends making a sequel unlikely but not impossible. I'd certainly like to read more about Casey and Storm Warning if Lauren St John were to write it.