The Night Ride

J. Anderson Coats. Atheneum, $17.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-534480-77-3
In the loosely medieval kingdom of Mael Dunn, the royal horses are cared for by men and boys “from families who have been taking care of [them] for generations.” Though her brother lucked into a position at the royal stables, Sonnia, both a poor “lane kid” and a girl, has little hope of a future involving the animals. She nevertheless saves all her money to one day buy her favorite horse, Ricochet, and spends her afternoons grooming and riding him. When she learns that Ricochet will be relocated to the racetrack across town, she follows, and a chance encounter lands Sonnia a job as a racetrack stablehand. Sonnia adores working with the horses, and the job seems to pay well, but she’s horrified to discover that the other stablehands compete for large sums in a dangerous and illegal nighttime race—a Night Ride that she reluctantly enters, intent on helping her parents and saving to buy Ricochet. Though the kingdom’s class structure and the titular event’s gambling particulars are left mostly undeveloped, Coats’s (The Green Children of Woolpit) fast-paced tale with a largely default-white cast absorbs with meticulously observed horsey details and a tender interspecies relationship. Ages 8–12. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 10/06/2021
Release date: 10/01/2021
Genre: Children's
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