cover image Taming the Star Run

Taming the Star Run

S. E. Hinton, Susie E. Hinton. Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-440-50058-2

Hinton returns to familiar ground in her first novel in nearly 10 years. Her protagonist is a street-wise youth who exhibits both toughness (he once tried to kill his stepfather) and sensitivity (he is a writer who, in the course of the novel, sells his first book). As the story opens, Travis is on his way from juvenile hall to his uncle's ranch, where, for the first time, his toughness leaves others unimpressed, and where he identifies with the Star Runner, a beautiful, dangerous horse that refuses to be tamed. A friend from the city calls on Travis for help when he becomes mixed up in a couple of violent murders, causing Travis to wonder, as he readies his manuscript for publication, whether will or merely luck kept him from a similar fate. Much of the critical action of this novel occurs offstage, between characters readers have had little opportunity to know. As a result, the novel lacks the gripping immediacy and emotional intensity that have distinguished Hinton's previous novels. As in her other works, however, Hinton portrays her characters with sympathy and yet commendably refuses to gloss over rough edges or gritty truths. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)