Monday, July 28, 2014

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: A Hundred Horses

When I visited the library as a child, I always looked for stories about horses, books like The Black Stallion or Misty of Chincoteague. I signed them out many times and read them over and over. So I'm always thrilled when I find a new horse story to read.

Today’s Pick: A Hundred Horses

by Sarah Lean

Katherine Tegen Books, 2014

From Amazon:

From the author of A Dog Called Homeless, winner of the Schneider Family Book Award, comes another gentle novel with a touch of magic about the power of friendship and the truth of belonging.

Nell isn't happy about spending her vacation on a farm, but when she meets a half-wild and mysterious girl named Angel, the two girls are tied in an adventure that may help Nell discover something special about herself—and the most special of a hundred horses.

Girls and horses are a classic pairing, and fans of favorites such as My Friend Flicka and Misty of Chincoteague are sure to love the heartwarming friendship story and adorable—magical—animals in A Hundred Horses.

My Take:

This was an interesting book about two very different girls developing  a friendship and rescuing a horse and its foal. A touch of mystery kept me reading. It was interesting to me to see the farm setting through the eyes of Nell, who’d grown up in a city and was experiencing a different lifestyle.  There were many layers to this story, such as Nell sorting out her relationships and feelings with her father and her mother.

As a writer, I especially enjoyed the language and phrasing in this story. Some of the dialogue seems so true, you feel like you are inside the main character’s head, e.g., “It always feels like this when you’re away from your mom and you don’t know anybody and you’re not sure what to expect.”  

I also admired some of the descriptions like “I hear the shuffle of the quilt on the bottom bunk” because they are small details that are so in the moment of what is happening.

Opening Line:

“Mom was late picking me up from drama club again.”


“I’d found something unexpected, something that made me feel brilliant inside. Now it was gone, and it left my stomach churning.”

“She stayed frozen, breathing loudly through her nose, her eyes blazing, my question hanging in the air like ice.”

“They are just bits and pieces until they all come together. Then they make something extraordinary, something alive.”

Other Info:

Sarah Lean lives in Dorset, England with her family and dog. She used to teach school before obtaining a Master’s degree in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Winchester.

This book, A Hundred Horses is also published under the title A Horse for Angel (possibly the UK version).

On her website, she gives this advice to aspiring writers: “Expect to get it wrong, again and again. Practice is paramount, expect to learn, love learning.”

Other Books:

A Dog Called Homeless
The Forever Whale
Jack Pepper

For more, visit Sarah Lean’s website or follow her on Twitter: @SarahLean1

Looking for more Marvelous Middle Grade Monday books? Visit Shannon Messenger’s blog for a list of bloggers reviewing great books today! Shannon is the founder of Marvelous Middle Grade Monday and the author of the middle grade novels, Keeper of the Lost Cities and Exile (Keeper of the Lost Cities #2).


  1. Sounds good. And I really liked the quotes you pulled out. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Great writing advice from the author. I know a horse loving avid reader who is going to flip over this one. Thanks for featuring as it had not crossed my radar before.

  3. This feature has a lot of things I like, plus I believe I have A Dog Called Homeless on my tbr list already. This is more incentive for me to read Sarah Lean's books.

    Thanks for the feature. :)


  4. I really liked the quote by the author too! I loved reading about horses as a kid, and this one sounds intriguing because of the focus on the girls' friendship. Thanks for featuring it!

  5. I really enjoyed this book. Horse lovers will all enjoy this one.

  6. I hadn't heard of this, but I remember enjoying A Dog Called Homeless, which was beautifully written. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention, Andrea!

  7. I really like the quote from the author! I loved horse books as a child, but this one really sounds interesting because of the friendship between the girls. Thanks for featuring it!


I love to hear your responses and thoughts! Your comments will appear after moderation (I've decided to enable moderation due to excessive spam).