Ije Ajibade writes in NetGalley: This is a lovely YA story which explores the pressures of abusive family life and the impact on a young person. It is not a negative story because it also portrays resilience, courage and strength. I enjoyed reading it because of Robbie's courage but also because of the affirming people around him. People who suspect that there is abuse of some kind and become both vigilant and supportive of Robbie.
The story also portrays the gentle feelings of first love and how friendship can grow towards love. The story is told from the perspectives of Robbie and Sam, his friend and love interest. Best of all is the setting for the story and the way the author describes Robbie's life and his love of horses and horse shows.
Although the story deals with really hard issues it was still a good book to read and not full of angst. Robbie tries his best not to ignite his Dad's wrath and the story shows his dislike of violence and his yearning for parental love in a very realistic way. The abuse does not dominate Robbie's life. Horses are his main focus. He doesn't hate his Dad either, he just wishes things were better and the new friendships and love show him a better way. It is this that strengthens him.
The story shows how love and acceptance can bring light to our lives even when things are hard or when we find ourselves in adverse circumstances. My only complaint about this story was that it ended rather suddenly. I could have done with at least another three chapters about this young couple and the horses. There was just so much more to learn about all the characters in this book. I do hope the author will write a sequel.
I think this is a great book for young adults. I also think it would be worth including at the back of the book, contact details of helplines and other resources for young people who maybe experiencing abuse or who just need someone to talk too.
DSP publish some great YA books and this is another one that I have really enjoyed reading.