This book may be listed as a 9-12 year old read, but that doesn't begin to do this book proper justice! I read it by myself with the intent of going back and reading it with my 11 year old daughter. I enjoyed it so much that it will be a family read instead as all 5 of my children ages 3-11 will love getting to know Sarah, Uncle Joe, Junior, Miss Rose, Aunt Becky and Eric. Susan Page Davis takes us inside Sarah's world - a 14 year old girl who is suddenly left all alone after a tragic accident takes her mom away from her and her dad died 8 years previously. Uncle Joe, a quiet, solitary bachelor takes her in on his horse farm which allows her to keep her horse and her mom's horse. As they settle into a routine, Uncle Joe finally agrees to ride with Sarah in the Bandicoot 100, which her mom had previously registered to do with Sarah. This leads us inside the world of distance horse racing which turned out to be fascinating! This is Sarah's first time to do a 100 (100 miles in under 24 hours) though she and her mother had completed a 50 mile race shortly before her mom passed away.
God's provision is the phrase that kept coming to mind as I read this book, God's provision for Sarah (and Uncle Joe) even when they didn't know what they needed.
This was just a really great book and I can't wait to see what Susan brings us in the next installment of The Piper Ranch Series!
Homeschool families - let me point out that Sarah is actually homeschooled by her mom and at the end of the book Uncle Joe has to make a decision about whether to put her in public school or allow her to continue homeschooling - this is a great aspect of the book as Sarah is an intelligent, lovely, polite, Christian young lady who gives homeschoolers a good name (her best friend Eric has been homeschooled his whole life as well). If you are studying horses in your homeschool, you could actually work this book in because it is packed with interesting information - especially about the distance riding!