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Children's Literature @ NYPL
Booktalking "Best Enemies" by Jessica Burkhart
Charm and Sasha are a team, a team that might become a part of the Youth Equestrian National Team (YENT), if Sasha can help Charm conquer his hydrophobia so that they can succeed in the cross-country portion of the eventing trial that they will enter. Dressage, cross-country, and show jumping comprise the sport of equestrian eventing. I do not know if I would try it, but the girls and boys of Canterwood Crest excel at horsemanship.
Then, there is the drama of Callie and Sasha's friendship. Callie is dating Jacob, almost before he and Sasha were through dating. Sasha is going out with Eric, who is one year higher than her in school. He is an eighth-grader. The girls share the excitement of their dates, and then they hang in the Sweet Shoppe, indulging their love for sweet treats such as delectable cupcakes.
Sasha, Callie, Heather, Eric, and Jasmine work their horses in group lessons with Mr. Connor, honing their skills in the arena and on the cross-country courses. They live posh lives, with grooms to cool out and water their horses. Canterwood Crest is a boarding school where the kids' horses are boarded. They love their horses, the Sweet Shoppe, and they all vie for coveted positions on YENT.
I love the excitement, drama, and feeling of understanding that comes from reading a book which was obviously written by someone who has horse experience. The girls in the novel discuss horses and riding the way that people who have some knowledge about equine behavior do. The exercises they put their horses through are described in detail, including the jump combinations as well as the cross-country fun that they enjoy.
However, I need to point out that dressage tests in general are memorized, not as the test is dictated to Sasha by her riding instructor in the book. Also, it does seem out of place that the girls on the front cover of the book look as if they are dressed for school, not riding. On the back cover, a girl is cooling out a horse with shorts and paddock boots, not a sensible outfit for the barn.
Jessica Burkhart had a horse like Charm and she is only 26 years old.