In this badly written novel from Savage (A Stranger Calls Me Home, 1992, etc.), characters frequently reveal their attempts at ""art""--dressage, painting, photography--to others, along with a string of clichÃ¢s about the costs of following their hearts (or not) to fulfillment. Ben's mother can barely make ends meet as a cashier; his dreamer father's business schemes always fail; drunken older brother Tom has just lost his job. During these hard times the family relies on the rent the adjacent boarding school pays to use some farm land. Ben, 17, is torn between his mother's need for stability and his father's starry-eyed encouragement. He doesn't know whether to risk time, money, and energy on his secret dream of becoming a dressage champion, or to sell his beloved horse, Galaxy, for the family good and take a job in an auto repair shop. The novel takes a melodramatic turn when Ben meets Lara, a wealthy but troubled student at the boarding school, who is alienated from her adoptive family. After pages and pages of angry, then tender exchanges, Ben and Lara fall in love. Hackneyed elements make this story long and tired: The mystical bond between Galaxy and Ben (rendered in purple prose); a greedy school administration; Lara's bad-girl tantrums; her wealthy, uncaring parents. A pedestrian plot, dearth of credible adults, hysterical tone, and obvious themes make this novel unbelievable at its best and exhausting at its worst.