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ASTRA by Chris Platt

ASTRA

By Chris Platt

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-56145-541-6
Publisher: Peachtree

If, by the bottom of page two, a book's end is manifest, it may not be worth starting page three. Thirteen-year-old Lily dreams of competing in endurance races with a beautiful Arab mare named Astra, and, yup, it happens. Melodrama masquerades as plot. First, Lily's mother died riding Astra in an endurance race, and her father swears he'll never let Lily ride. (He changes his mind--because Lily wants him to.) Then Astra becomes horribly ill after eating a poisonous plant. (The horse hovers near death in a coma for hours, in defiance of all veterinary science, but makes a full recovery--because Lily wants her to.) Then, too, Astra actually belongs to someone else (who transfers ownship to Lily as the horse is about to be euthanized--for no intelligible reason at all). Then Lily's family can't pay for a vet. (He offers his care for free.)  The pattern is clear: All obstacles will disappear without effort so that our heroine can follow the well-worn path of misunderstood child riding underappreciated horse to greatness. A former jockey and current endurance rider, Platt should be able to do better. (Fiction. 8-12)