Riding Lessons This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     “We're flying now, and it's a wonder to me that we touch the ground at all because clearly we don't need to ... on and past the water, and I'm letting him now, trusting him, and we're flying ... Let me, he says, and I say Yes, because how can I not.”

This is a wonderful quote that demonstrates the feeling and wisdom between horse and rider. The rest of Riding Lessons flows just

as easily and allows the right amount of suspense to play with your mind.

Riding Lessons starts with the dream of any young rider. Annemarie Zimmer, an 18-year-old equestrienne and Olympic contender, gallops around a jump course on her strangely colored horse named Harry. On her face is a look of determination with an aura of joy surrounding her. Then tragedy strikes, ruining both careers and costing Harry his life.

The book fast-forwards 20 years, leaving many questions about what happened.

Annemarie is now married with a rebellious 15-year-old daughter named Eva. As family complications twist the plot, Annemarie and Eva find a new home on Annemarie's family's farm in New Hampshire. As they get settled, everything starts to go wrong. Annemarie's father falls ill with Lou Gehrig's disease, the farm is suffering with financial troubles, and help has to be hired. Worst of all, Annemarie's marriage is disintegrating and she is called away to courtrooms for weeks at a time.

Eva finds security in a rescued black mare as her family falls apart. Both mother and daughter have unanswered questions about their lives, yet are so far apart that they are too shy to ask each other. As things finally turn for the better, Annemarie receives the shock of a lifetime at a local animal shelter that almost throws her and her family overboard.

I enjoyed this book because it gives such an accurate description of a rebellious teenager with an overprotective mother. There are many books out there that show you the easy things in a teenager's life, but Riding Lessons depicts the struggles as well as the accomplishments of teenagers. In addition, Sara Gruen weaves her passion for horses with family relationships to create interesting conflicts.

Follow Annemarie and Eva's story through tragedy and romance, with a twist involving a horse like no other. There is so much in Riding Lessons that you will be surprised, and what seems irrelevant at the moment may play a huge role later. Even for the non-horse lover, this book offers a wonderful plot with a cunningly told story.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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