Wide open space changes people, as 11-year-old Maya discovers in this novel of a young girl's growth from sheltered grandchild to independent young woman. Maya felt like a captive living with a grandmother who had shut herself off from the world after an accident killed her son and Maya's mother. After her grandmother dies, Maya goes to live with her Aunt Vi in the wide-open spaces of a Wyoming ranch. There, Maya learns the ways of a land that feels to her like an alien planet, forges a relationship with feisty Aunt Vi and finds her life changed by a tobiano Paint horse called Artemisia. Told in the alternating third-person voices of Maya and Artemisia, Ryan's tale is a beautiful portrait of a rugged land, within which people and horses sometimes find a bond. Maya, Aunt Vi and secondary characters are well drawn, as is the world of wild horses. Readers will learn much about horses, and even those who know nothing about them will cheer as Maya learns to walk, jog, lope and gallop. (glossary, websites, bibliography) (Fiction. 9-13) Read full book review >
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