cover image Snow Foal

Snow Foal

Susanna Bailey. Peachtree, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-682634-14-1

Furious at being thrust into foster care and separated from her single mam, whose alcohol reliance has resulted in neglect, young Adelaide “Addie” Jones forms a deep, healing bond in this understated, tender debut. Brought to the sprawling Exmoor farm of kindly couple Ruth and Sam, who “only foster kids who have to stay a long time,” Addie, who is certain that her mam needs her, is wary of settling in alongside fellow foster kids Sunni, who can seem prickly, and Jude, who communicates without speech. But when she helps Ruth and Sam’s jovial 14-year-old son Gabe to calm an anxious foal found during a snowstorm, she discovers a profound kinship with the pony and grows accustomed to the farm’s pastoral rhythms. After learning that the foal will only be reunited with a wild herd—and his own mam—if deemed a “pureblood” Exmoor pony, Addie hatches a plan to secretly return him to the moor, no matter what the “experts” say. Emphasizing parallels between Addie’s longing for home and the wild pony’s displacement, Bailey’s third-person narration follows a fiercely resolute heroine on a gradual arc of hard-won acceptance around the challenges of her mother’s recovery. Sunni cues as South Asian; other characters read as white. Ages 8–12. Agent: Emily Talbot, United Agents. (Nov.)