Author: Jane Yolen
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co
Publication Date: October 21, 2014
Source: I received a complimentary copy in exchange for a honest review.
One night during the Perseid meteor shower, Arianne thinks she sees a shooting star land in the fields surrounding her family’s horse farm. About a year later, one of their horses gives birth to a baby centaur. The family has enough attention already as Arianne’s six-year-old brother was born with birth defects caused by an experimental drug—the last thing they need is more scrutiny. But their clients soon start growing suspicious. Just how long is it possible to keep a secret? And what will happen if the world finds out?
At a time when so many novels are set in other worlds, Jane Yolen imagines what it would be like if a creature from another world came to ours in this thoughtfully written, imaginative novel, Centaur Rising.
Centaur Rising is the story of a struggling horse farm that gets a big injection of magic when one of the ponies gives birth to a centaur. While I didn't love this book, I did find it interesting and will likely be passing it on to my horse-crazy nieces.
Fair warning that, for a book aimed at 8-12 year olds, this one has some heavy stuff. First of all, our main character Arianne's little brother Robbie is severely handicapped, since his mother had take Thalidomide. But I liked that his handicap didn't stop him from being a happy and very intelligent person! The second thing is tough family issues, mainly caused by an EXTREMELY deadbeat dad. Like if I could reach through the pages of a book and punch someone...
I can't quite put my finger on why I didn't end up loving this one. I think it might have to do with the fact that the main character Arianne (and the tone of the book in general) was very serious. But beyond that, I can't say why I wasn't crazy about this one. I also found the very end pretty bizarre. But this book is about a centaur birthed through the immaculate conception of a pony, so I guess that's not surprising. Maybe I just like my books to be either fantasy or contemporary and this one was neither (magical realism?).
Overall, while I can't put my finger on why this one wasn't a huge success for me, I still plan to pass it along to my nieces.
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