Between her horse being injured, starting high school and her father getting remarried, Leslie has a lot of conflicting emotions about so many changes. She is starting to get attached to the new horse and concocts a plan to surprise everyone with his progress. This planning brings a new habit of lying, though, which is really out of character for her. She gets into a bit of trouble after her surprise is over and the truth comes out. Further life lessons happen when she suspects her best friend Holly of being in an almost abusive relationship, gets into a fight with her own boyfriend and learns more about loss with her horses.
While I enjoyed this second installment of the Green Meadow series, I have to say I did not like it quite as much as the first one. The parts in which some of the life lessons were being taught, such as Holly's issues with her boyfriend, felt more forced than other parts of the book. All of the stories about the horses and the shows flowed much more naturally. That being said, I am not sure how I would have presented the difficulties any differently.
The characters are 14 years old and just starting high school. These years are filled with all kinds of angst and new challenges. The characters almost feel a little too good at times, but in a way that reminds me of the books from the 1950s that I loved so much in elementary school. I think of Betsy and Eddie, and the romance books by Beverly Cleary. I appreciate Jennifer trying to impart some positive values on her readers, to counteract all of the negative ones otherwise found in media.
Just as in the first book, I learned a lot about horse care while reading this one. Anyone who is interested in starting up with horses can get a good foundation from reading the Green Meadow series. Descriptions are detailed enough for me to clearly picture them in my mind. I am feeling the need to look up some local stables to see if I can find a horse to at least pet, if not ride.
I have greatly enjoyed reading about Leslie and her adventures. I look forward to more books in this series and recommend them for those in upper elementary and beyond.
I purchased my copy as an e-book through Smashwords. It is also available for your Kindle and as a paperback.