Genre: middle grade fiction
Length: 352 pages
Setting: present day, mostly Wyoming
Interest: I needed an audiobook for our latest trip to a gymnastics meet. Miss Adventure chose this one from what was available (and about the right length) at our library.
Summary: Ever since her parents died, Maya has lived with her father’s mother. This grandmother has very strict rules on how things should look and be done, and Maya is forced to stay in her room where she will be “safe”. When her grandmother dies of a stroke, she’s sent to live with her mother’s family in Wyoming, Grandpa Moose, Aunt Vi, and Uncle Fig. They live on a horse ranch and spend every summer at the summer camp along the Sweetwater River. Maya has to get used to many changes, very quickly. This family is lovingly demonstrative, living outside among animals, and her cousin Payton isn’t sure he wants another kid around the camp. Working with horses gives her confidence (although sometimes it’s false confidence in her abilities). Interspersed with Maya’s adventures are those of Artemisia, a wild filly who has just foaled. There is a gather of wild horses, but Artemisia and Clay, her foal, avoid the nets. Aunt Vi wants to bring Artemisia back to their camp, but Artemisia is nowhere to be found. On a day Maya is left alone at the camp (with promises not to leave), she spies Artemisia and goes to bring her back. An earthquake injures Maya and it is only through Artemisia’s help that she’s able to get back to camp.
Final thoughts: This is a great book for a horse lover. It’s also a great coming-of-age story about a young girl. Maya slowly grows away from someone trying to look perfect and lying to get what she wants into someone who has strengths and abilities in her own right. At times, Maya makes very poor choices (going off to find Artemisia on her own is the biggest one) with little consequences for her actions. I was also a bit skeptical about how quickly Artemisia allowed Maya to ride her back to the camp, but a young girl wouldn’t notice any of those minor faults. She’d just dream about spending the summer next to the river riding horses all day and being able to see wild horses. That would have been a perfect summer for me when I was a young girl!
Title comes from: It comes from a saying in the book – if you want to catch the wind, you have to paint its tail.
Reading challenges fulfilled: None, since this was an audiobook.
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