I do not care what “horse people” think of Horse Trouble by Kristin Varner as it is a delightful story about a young girl who is dealing with the stress of her life and the horses are really “second thoughts that are important to the overall story but shouldn’t be nitpicked about.” The amount of information and images of horses comes from someone with a “horse background” and therefore, I take their lead.
What I absolutely adored about this book is the realistic mother and her responses to Kate’s weight issues. Kate, a happy go lucky girl, until “That Day” happens and she becomes “aware” for the first time how people react to a plus-sized gal, is also wonderfully realistic. I also loved the fact that Becky, the best friend, did not dump Kate as a friend because “all of a sudden she wants to be the cool girl and Kate isn’t.” Nope, she just loads up on allergy medicine (she’s allergic to horses) and cheers her on! Okay, maybe not realistic, but for once a lovely change. I would have liked to seen Valerie (a new girl at the barn) realizing how their actions affected another girl but can’t have it all! And I am curious about the rich girl, Jana, and what her background is like. Do I see sequels?
Overall, this book is a delightful read, and people who are horse and non-horse people can get a kick out of it. I love the notes about definitions and explanations of terms on the page itself and not in a glossary at the end. And the little “box of information” when a character is introduced was fun. It helps give you a feel of the characters before you start reading. The only real issue I have are the illustrations. The use of only blue, white, and occasionally pink can make them bleed together, but it also works. I like the fact this book is both modern and old-school feeling at the same time. It is “safe” but has a good message and keeps your attention.