They’re from two different worlds.
He lives in the estate house, and she spends most of her time in the stables helping her father train horses. In fact, Savannah has always been much more comfortable around horses than boys. Especially boys like Jack Goodwin—cocky, popular and completely out of her league. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries.
With her dream of becoming a horse jockey, Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules either. She’s not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack…
Read the first three chapters here:
Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 3rd 2013 by Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Publisher for an honest review
Four stars: Another terrific addition to an outstanding YA series!
Savannah is worried about relocating right before her senior year. Still she understands that her father could not pass up a promising job opportunity. Money is tight and Savannah's dad now has another baby on the way. Savannah settles in at the wealthy estate and sets her sight on becoming a horse exerciser. The wealthy Goodwin's have a stable full of pure bred racehorses and her father is going to help with the training. On Savannah's first day on the grounds, she manages to catch a runaway horse. Star just so happens to belong to Jack, the future owner of the ranch. At seventeen, Jack is handsome, charming, a bit cocky and extremely wealthy. He is way out of Savannah's league, and in fact, she is not to mix with the Goodwin family. Sparks of attraction fly, and Savannah finds herself in way over her head. Can Savannah protect her heart from Jack?
What I Liked:
- I love that I can count on Miranda Kenneally's books to provide me with genuine and realistic characters. The characters in her stories become like old friends, and I appreciate that they have plenty of flaws along with all the qualities that makes me love them in the first place. With each new introduction, I know I am going to meet a new friend and watch them tackle important issues. I know by the end they will show growth and they will win my heart. That is indeed the case with Jack and Savannah in Racing Savannah. Jack and Savannah fit right in with the rest of the wonderful inhabitants of Hundred Oaks, and I thoroughly enjoyed their story. If you have yet to meet the folks from Hundred Oaks, I suggest you rectify that immediately and grab any one of the four books. The main characters along with the secondary characters always manage to make me smile with each and every book.
- This is the fourth book in Kenneally's Hundred Oaks Series, but it can certainly be picked up and read without having read any of the preceding books. All the books in this series are companion novels so they each have a complete story. However, what makes these books shine is that in each of the subsequent books, we get tiny glimpses of the characters from the other books. For instance, Racing Savannah occurs five years after Catching Jordan, Stealing Parker and Things I Can't Forget. Jordan, Sam, Will, Parker, Kate and Matt are five years down the road. There are brief snippets of how things turned out for them and even a wedding on the way. I loved learning how everyone fared and catching up with them. I also liked that some of the siblings of the earlier characters appear in this book. I absolutely adore companion novels because I love that you can pick them up and read them in any order and I always enjoy catching up with old friends from earlier books. Of course, you can read these any way you choose but it enriches the experience to read them as they were written so you can delight in the cameos of the characters in each subsequent book.
- In this book, Savannah is a girl who comes from a family that fights every day to make ends meet. College isn't even a possibility for her as she struggles to come up with the money for her ACT exam. Jack, on the other hand, comes from wealth and privilege and he has no idea what it is like to do without. This is certainly a case of opposites attract. The romance is forbidden as neither one of the fathers wants to see their child hook up with the other as they know that a wealthy boy has no business dating the hired help. Unfortunately, the heart wants what the heart wants. I liked watching the two fight to come together. The romance is a struggle, as Jack makes some questionable moves, but in the end it is sweet and satisfying. I especially liked that this time around the romance remained straight forward and there weren't hints of a love triangle like in the previous books.
- Horse racing is not something I know much about, and I appreciated that Kenneally was able to immerse me into the world of horse racing. She exposes the thrill of the race along with the ugliness and danger that accompanies this sport. I am in awe of Kenneally because when she makes up her mind to write a story on a particular topic, she does plenty of research before she digs in. I had no idea that she really knew nothing of football and horse racing before she wrote her books. Kenneally spends the time learning and researching and it certainly shows in her books. I am a big fan of her work!
And The Not So Much:
- The romance is a bit predictable. From the first moments, it was apparent that Jack and Savannah had chemistry. I liked that there was no second guessing, but I disliked that you knew how it was going to play out. Yes, there were some big obstacles and plenty of stumbling blocks, but you know from the first chapters what is in the works. Not a big deal because I enjoyed the ride and getting to the sweet finish line.
- In the previous books, Kenneally has tackled some big and often troubling issues that teenagers are facing today such as stereotypes, sexuality, abortion, religion, etc. I was a bit disappointed that this time out there weren't any important topics. This is a straightforward read about a girl overcoming poverty and fighting for her dream. A sweet story with a strong message but it doesn't deal with anything tough.
- There were several story lines that were left undone and I wanted more answers. At the end of the book, there is an epilogue eight months down the road. I was hoping for a bit more resolution. I wanted to know what happened with Star? Did he ever win a race? What about Rory and his family and their farm?
- This book is best suited for older teenagers as it does have some sex scenes. Nothing too graphic, but there are discussions on sex and a scene that involves oral sex.
- This is a minor point, but I was sad that there wasn't more information on Kate and Matt. There is plenty of detail on Jordan, Sam, Parker and Will, but only a small mention of Kate and nothing of Matt. I wished that there was just a bit more as Kate ended up being one of my favorite characters.
Racing Savannah is another terrific addition to Miranda Kenneally's beloved Hundred Oaks Series. I love that it gives us a peek at the lives of the characters in the first books five down years down the road. This is a sweet and satisfying romance that follows a girl who is willing to follow her dreams and believe the impossible. If you are a fan of Kenneally's other books, I am certain you will find this to be a worthy addition to the collection. I am a big fan of Ms. Kenneally's books and I will continue to read her work.
"You are really pretty...." He drags a hand through his blond hair. "But you're kind of like a great book... you know, you pick up a book at the bookstore because it has a beautiful cover...but it's what's inside that pulls you in."
"As I am swaying in Jack's arms, there's only one road I want to take. The road with him standing at the end. And it's not an easy road. I decide to be bold, to take the curvy, pothole-filled path."
"We don't know what other people are thinking. We never will unless we ask."
"It doesn't matter where you dance. It's only who you're with."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.