A mysterious Gypsy boy, Chav, who rides a black horse and exudes angst is befriended by Gray, who's still wracked by the loss of her entire family. Chav, new in school, intrigues Gray. While out riding, she discovers that he is camping out, in hiding, with his little brother and sister and the beautiful horse. Chav, who suffered serious abuse from his ""gadjo"" (white) father, has a deep antipathy to gadjo society. When the tykes get sick, Gray takes them to her aunt's home, where she lives. The kids settle in, but Chav goes off the deep end; Gray is able to track him on the black horse. Public hue and cry about Gypsies and about Chav's theft of a gun lend still more conflict. Critical readers may shy at some hard-to-swallow melodrama (e.g., how did Char and his sibs get into school without a last name or papers? And Gray's family died under conditions that are not only unbelievable but almost slapstick). Still, Springer knows her girls and horses, and both major and minor characters are real individuals. Everything a young, horse-crazy romantic could wish: a book 12- and 13-year-olds will pass around until it's in tatters.