An affecting, sometimes awkward novel presses the reader to root for its quirky, tragedy-stricken duo.


A complex father-daughter duo head back to their small hometown of Klosterberg, Texas, to get closure in this drama that considers the complexities of race in small-town America.

Robert “Rabbit” Haase lived a heartbreaking life. He lost his mother to a man that left her with a broken heart and a drug addiction, and he lost his pregnant fiancée to a man that hated him for loving a black woman. Rabbit had not recovered from watching his love get shot to death in a parking lot, and he certainly had not forgotten that the man responsible, Fenton Rivers, walked free because of an insanity plea. So when an old friend, who’s also the sheriff, called to coax him into returning to Klosterberg as chief deputy to examine the murder of an officer allegedly killed by Fenton, Rabbit faced a dilemma: Should he leave Austin for a small town choked by drugs and racism for a chance at revenge, especially considering that he had his adopted daughter to think about? Lucky for Rabbit, Peetie hated Austin, so that made his decision easier. Unlucky for both of them, she also learned to hate Klosterberg. Being a black girl with a white dad in Texas was reason enough to be bullied in Austin, but when your dad is the chief deputy, it’s worse. Billig creates a three-dimensional character in Peetie, and once the reader gets to know her, the author ups the ante. As Rabbit tries to find more than circumstantial evidence to indict Fenton, Peetie looks for ways to get her classmate, Baylee Ruthers, off her back. Peetie’s situation escalates, and when the principal threatens to have her separated from her “Rabbit-daddy,” she makes an epically poor decision that results in a dead girl and two missing kids. Just when you think things can’t get any worse for this surly preteen and her exhausted father, a bank is robbed and two people are kidnapped. At times, the plot loses its momentum in clunky point-of-view shifts. As the tension escalates, however, this competent examination of race in small-town Texas morphs into a page turner as Rabbit struggles to connect the clues in time to save his daughter. The fully developed, likable father-daughter team further enhances the storytelling.

An affecting, sometimes awkward novel presses the reader to root for its quirky, tragedy-stricken duo. 

Pub Date: Dec. 21, 2011

ISBN: 978-1466417663

Page Count: 260

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.



In the ninth book in the Bluford young-adult series, a young Latino man walks away from violence—but at great personal cost.

In a large Southern California city, 16-year-old Martin Luna hangs out on the fringes of gang life. He’s disaffected, fatherless and increasingly drawn into the orbit of the older, rougher Frankie. When a stray bullet kills Martin’s adored 8-year-old brother, Huero, Martin seems to be heading into a life of crime. But Martin’s mother, determined not to lose another son, moves him to another neighborhood—the fictional town of Bluford, where he attends the racially diverse Bluford High. At his new school, the still-grieving Martin quickly makes enemies and gets into trouble. But he also makes friends with a kind English teacher and catches the eye of Vicky, a smart, pretty and outgoing Bluford student. Martin’s first-person narration supplies much of the book’s power. His dialogue is plain, but realistic and believable, and the authors wisely avoid the temptation to lard his speech with dated and potentially embarrassing slang. The author draws a vivid and affecting picture of Martin’s pain and confusion, bringing a tight-lipped teenager to life. In fact, Martin’s character is so well drawn that when he realizes the truth about his friend Frankie, readers won’t feel as if they are watching an after-school special, but as though they are observing the natural progression of Martin’s personal growth. This short novel appears to be aimed at urban teens who don’t often see their neighborhoods portrayed in young-adult fiction, but its sophisticated characters and affecting story will likely have much wider appeal.

A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2004

ISBN: 978-1591940173

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Townsend Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2013

Did you like this book?

A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Mary's Song

From the Dream Horse Adventure Series series , Vol. 1

A novel tells the story of two spirited girls who set out to save a lame foal in 1952.

Mary, age 12, lacks muscle control of her legs and must use a wheelchair. Her life is constantly interrupted by trips with her widower father to assorted doctors, all of whom have failed to help her. Mary tolerates the treatments, hoping to one day walk unassisted, but her true passion involves horses. Possessing a library filled with horse books, she loves watching and drawing the animals at a neighboring farm. She longs to own one herself. But her father, overprotective due to her disability and his own lingering grief over Mary’s dead mother, makes her keep her distance. Mary befriends Laura, the emotionally neglected daughter of the wealthy neighboring farm owners, and the two share secret buggy rides. Both girls are attracted to Illusion, a beautiful red bay filly on the farm. Mary learns that Illusion is to be put down by a veterinarian because of a lame leg. Horrified, she decides to talk to the barn manager about the horse (“Isn’t it okay for her to live even if she’s not perfect? I think she deserves a chance”). Soon, Mary and Laura attempt to raise money to save Illusion. At the same time, Mary begins to gain control of her legs thanks to water therapy and secret therapeutic riding with Laura. There is indeed a great deal of poignancy in a story of a girl with a disability fighting to defend the intrinsic value of a lame animal. But this book, the first installment of the Dream Horse Adventure Series, would be twice as touching if Mary interacted with Illusion more. In the tale’s opening, she watches the foal from afar, but she actually spends very little time with the filly she tries so hard to protect. This turns out to be a strange development given the degree to which the narrative relies on her devotion. Count (Selah’s Sweet Dream, 2015) draws Mary and Laura in broad but believable strokes, defined mainly by their unrelenting pluckiness in the face of adversity. While the work tackles disability, death, and grief, Mary’s and Laura’s environments are so idyllic and their optimism and perseverance so remarkable that the story retains an aura of uncomplicated gentleness throughout.

A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: -

Publisher: Hastings Creations Group

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?