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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*Another Kind of Cowboy* by Susan Juby- young adult book review  
Another Kind of Cowboy
by Susan Juby
Ages 12+ 352 pages HarperTeen December 2007 Hardcover    

Another Kind of Cowboy is a teen romance about dedication, support, the love of a sport, the discipline involved in developing skills for an equestrian sport, and learning to accept one’s self.

Sixteen-year-old Alex Ford comes from a family of very modest means, who would fit well into the category of the working poor. He is a serious teen with twin sisters at his heels and a lot on his mind, including his overbearing father who relishes his son’s ability with a manly sport and is comfortably setting into alcohol. Grace, Alex’s aunt, had been living with them ever since their mother left the family for greener pastures.

Chloe O’Shea is a mischievous single child whose parents are involved in the field of filmmaking. They are exceptionally rich, but she has very little quality time with her parents, who seem to think that opening their wallets will take care of everything; still, their love and dedication to Chloe are apparent throughout the novel. Chloe is familiar with extravagant - yet cold - homes and private schools, and she is searching for something real and palatable in her life.

The two teenagers eventually meet at an equestrian center that is set in Vancouver, British Columbia, where they embark on learning the art of dressage from two renowned experts in the sport. The trainers live together, and the storyline hints that they might also be in a relationship.

Author Susan Juby makes clear that in the world of horsemanship, not everyone comes from wealth. One of the lead characters is a financially destitute individual, while the other is inundated with money from her parents. Neither is getting the care or support they need from home, yet they clumsily find support in one another and from their beloved horses.

Juby artfully addresses teenage stresses and life issues, including the teens’ journey of finding themselves by discovering their strengths and weaknesses, developing relationships that evolve – sometimes dramatically - and learning to grow into an adult relationship with their parents. Juby shows readers the subtle reactions of both adults and teens when it comes to homosexuality, and the outcome of her tale is comforting in that releasing these “secrets” can lead to a life of freedom. Juby, who is reportedly well-known in librarian and educator circles, has previously written other books, including Alice, I Think; Alice Macleod, Realist at Last; and Miss Smithers.

While I could find no information on the eco-printing options available to today’s publishers that were employed during the creation of this book (acid or chlorine-free paper, recycled content, veggie inks, carbon offsetting, eco-registered forests, etc.), the book is published in the US, which results in fewer fossil fuels spent on North American readers.

Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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