City of Horses
This book deals with a lot of big topics in a very sensitive way. It touches on the themes of bereavement, unemployment, moving home and is ultimately a book about friendship, navigating making new friends under challenging circumstances and maintaining existing friendships through periods of change.
When Misty’s dad loses his job, she and her dad have to leave the home they lived in with her mum and move to a council estate where her Dad grew up and where horses roam freely on the common. Although the action takes place a few years after Misty’s mum dies, she is still very much part of Misty’s story. After the move, at first Misty is embarrassed by her new home on the Redbridge estate, she soon makes new friends and learns to love the local horses.
There is a sense of self-awareness with Misty, as she comes to realise that her preconceptions about her new home were founded on social prejudice. She realises that, though her new friends may not have as much money as her other friends, they are wonderful people and she is lucky to have them in her life. I do wish though that the author had explored Misty’s changed attitudes to Redbridge in a bit more depth. While it is also lovely to see the healing power that Misty’s relationships with the horses also has on her, I also wonder if there is enough action in the story to keep teenage readers interested.