Thief of Happy Endings

416p. Viking. Jun. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780425290477.
Gr 7 Up—Cassidy used to be a natural rider, but a nasty fall, the death of her grandfather, and her parents' crumbling marriage made getting back on a horse all but impossible. Years later, she is being dropped off at a ranch in the middle of Wyoming. The thought of riding makes her toes curl up in her cowboy boots, but she's expected to help show off the mustangs at a local auction in hopes that the horses will be adopted. Cassidy's insomnia leads her to make a connection with one of the wildest steeds and the mysterious cowboy willing to risk it all for the horses he loves. Chandler manages to weave a story rich with a variety of relationships, such as Cassidy dealing with her divorcing parents, navigating new friendships, and confronting a bully roommate. Finding her voice and self-confidence are her biggest hurdles, but she manages to do so with wit and a big heart. Questioning what it means to do the "right thing" even if it means breaking the rules will resonate with teens. Fans of Sarah Dessen will enjoy the complex personal dynamics, while younger readers who love horse books will latch onto the equine backdrop to this YA selection. Although the action can flatline at times, those who stick it out will be rewarded with a feel-good story of self-discovery.
VERDICT For readers who crave adventure, romance, and a touch of dry humor. A good choice for YA collections.

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