Cassie and Jasper try to save an abused horse in this tense and heroic little adventure.
Twelve-year-old Cassie doesn’t always do what she should, but she follows her heart. She finds school tedious, and her sass often gets her in trouble. Her passion is working the ranch with Pa, although Cassie is still raw from the passing of her mother two years before. Then Cassie’s friend Jasper takes her to see an older horse, Glory, that’s being starved and neglected by a cruel rancher. Intensely empathetic Cassie cannot resist her desire to save Glory: “All my life I’d felt like that, like an animal’s pain was my own.” They hatch a rescue plan, but as brave as their efforts are, they don’t pause to consider other options, which lands them in a very dangerous situation. Set in an unspecified time uncluttered by cellphones and the Internet, this compassionate adventure plays out, its underlying theme of the value of education helping to change Cassie’s attitude.
Paced at a smooth canter and tugging at the heartstrings, this slim tale is a call to action for middle-grade animal lovers. (Adventure. 8-12)