MTV Books, 2011
This is the first novel I've read by Jennifer Echols, but I'm now a fan. Her characters are realistic, the dialogue is authentic (complete with the scattered f-bomb that rattles me just as much in text as it does when I hear it in the halls at work), and the story is orchestrated nicely.
The novel itself is a mix between the stories Erin and Hunter write for their Creative Writing seminar and their actual story. Sometimes this type of set-up is a mess, but in this case it works beautifully - building tension and filling in the gaps between the things we get to see take place and the things that happened to shape those events. It's masterful, without being overwhelming. It feels real, plausible. There's a history that has shaped Erin and Hunter, and their non-relationship - a history that is complicated and intricate, and one that they are discovering at the same pace we are, as readers. Surprises, twists, turns, revelations and mistakes. The setting may be one that few of us are familiar with (prestigious horse society? In my dreams, but definitely not my reality), but the struggles are universal. And the story? Well, it's a quick, compelling read that still manages to touch on very, very raw and personal questions.
And as an entirely random, personal interjection: It's been a while since I've indulged in "horse stories," and there was just enough "horse" to this tale to make me want to find a barn. Or at least revisit some old favorites from the genre.
Book provided by author for review.