cover image Wild Girl

Wild Girl

Patricia Reilly Giff, . . Random/Lamb, $15.99 (147pp) ISBN 978-0-375-83890-3

In this tender if occasionally overdramatic novel, two-time Newbery Honor author Giff (Lily’s Crossing ; Pictures of Hollis Woods ) relates the analogous stories of a 12-year-old girl and a filly. Lidie moves from Brazil to New York to join her brother and horse trainer father, who had left their homeland years earlier. She knows little English, misses the horse she loved to ride and is angry that her well-meaning father and brother still treat her like a little girl (“They didn’t know me, not at all”). Lidie immediately bonds with Wild Girl, her father’s new horse, which she observes “had been born in the warmth of the South... and brought here to this cold world, just as I had.” There’s little subtlety in the parallels Giff draws between the two: Lidie’s late mother had called her “my wild girl” and, sensing the filly is lonesome, she thinks, “I knew how that was.” Yet readers will find Lidie a strong protagonist, her difficulty in adjusting to her new life credible and her eventual feeling of belonging—she finally feels at home when riding Wild Girl for the first time—gratifying. Ages 8–12. (Aug.)