Cover Image: On a Good Horse

On a Good Horse

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Member Reviews

This story is about Alex, who has been living with his mom and has little contact with his dad, a horse trainer.  When Alex's mom dies, Alex ends up going to live (unwillingly) with his dad.  His dad is emotionally distant but wants to do the right thing.  He buys Alex a horse in hopes that Alex will want to continue to live with him.  The horse is also one of the story tellers, which is an excellent addition to the story.  I think kids are going to like this one a lot.
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After Alex’s mother dies unexpectedly, he is sent to live with his estranged father who buys him a horse which helps him with his grief as he tries to cope with the death of his mother and also gives him an opportunity to bond with his father. This is a heartwarming read that explores themes of family and lightly touches on grief.
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Great book about horses, reconnecting, and finding love unexpectedly in ways it can help one heal. Alex’s mom died and so Alex goes to live with his dad, whom he barely knows, for the summer  while his aunt and uncle have work. Alex’s dad buys him a horse, and Alex learns to ride and help his dad with his job horse shoeing . Alex and his dad begin to bond and he thinks  he wants to stay if his dad wants him to..  His aunt wants him back,but Alex decides his love  for his dad and his horse are too great and he decides to stay.
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After the death of his mother Alex is sent to live with his father who shoes horses for a living.  Can the 2 develop a relationship?

The book wasn't bad but I felt that the really climactic event took place too early in the book and then it was just a slow burn.
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There aren't many contemporary horsey books about boys, making On a Good Horse something of a standout in the genre. Alex Nash is forced to spend the summer with his estranged father following the sudden and unexpected death of his mother while his aunt and uncle, who wish to be Alex's guardians, wrestle with the court system. Alex, who has been raised on stories of his father rooted in his mother and mother's family antipathy for him, expects nothing good to come of the experience. Over time he begins to get to know his father on his own terms, aided to some degree by an unexpected mutual love for horses and vaquero life. While the majority of the book is told from Alex's POV, occasional chapters are included from the POV of Rio, Alex's horse. In my opinion this approach, while unique, does not pay off sufficiently given the invariable confusion these chapters cause when they suddenly appear out of nowhere.
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Sorry to say the words and sentences were overlapping in my advanced readers copy and I cannot read the book at all no matter how hard I tried. I downloaded the ebook many a times. They were all the same.
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When Alex’s mum dies, he has to go & live with his dad, who he’s rarely seen since they divorced when he was 3 years old. Life for Alex couldn’t be more different, living with Rob Nash, horse shoer. Now in cowboy country, life revolves around horses, including Rio, the half Arab gelding dad has bought for him.

This is a good, but somewhat straightforward story of how Alex grows to love Rio, his dad and life in the wild west. Although the story kept my interest, there was little of the sorrow and anguish that would accompany the death of a parent and the move to a new life. Because of this, the story would be suitable for younger readers.

I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I was given a copy of this title. All opinions are my own. ⠀
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This is a middle grade contemporary about a young boy who is grieving for his mom while reconnecting with the father who left them when he was younger. ⠀
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I'm going to be honest, this is my third attempt at writing this review. I am not sure if I have words that will do this book justice. I cannot even remind people of Karchut's previous works, because this is her first foray into contemporary. And about that, I am not disappointed at all. I mean, there is something magical, warm and comforting about her fantasies. You get similar feeling s in this one, but it's different - and not in a bad way. ⠀
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I believe Karchut was able to flex her writing muscles in creating a story without the built in magic of talking horses and monster slaying. The staples of Karchut's writing is definitely present -a complicated relationship between father & son. the nuianced bond between horse and rider and the wisdom that is planted indirectly and lived out through the experiences of the characters. ⠀
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There are so many things that I love about this story, and I don't want to give anything away. I love Roberto Nash in this story, his story I would like to know more of. He is a man of few words. But, even with that, it felt that he truly saw his son. And it's powerful being seen. I think that this is the most complicated father-son relationship in any of Karchut's books, but it also had heart and joy. The bond between horse and rider is also different. While Rio doesn't talk, we do get to hear his thoughts and that was fun and had its own wisdom to share.⠀
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"And Good for a Fight knew alive was just one cow-clumsy stride away from dead. Best to live in the here and the now." ⠀
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Karchut has once again found away to take something broken and complicated and weave a beautiful story that goes straight to the heart. Another story that. I happily recommend to the young and the old. ⠀
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A heartwarming and emotional story, we follow a young boy who is dealing with a tragic loss and goes to stay with his father for the summer. During this summer the boy builds a connection with a horse that his father gifted to him. I really enjoyed the story itself and found it was quite relatable at parts in regards to the loss. It was interesting to see that one of the POV's which was more of a side POV was in the view of the boy's horse. 

It is definitely a middle grade book but I feel like it could be enjoyed by many. I also think that this would be a good book for any middle grade age people who are dealing with loss such as in the book as I think the book portrays and deals with that subject well. I adored this book so much and it will definitely be in my highly recommended list!





Thank you Netgalley and Owl Hollow Press for the advanced copy in exchange for a honest review.
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#OnaGoodHorse #NetGalley
Thank you to NetGalley for the advance copy. 

On a Good Horse is firmly a middle grade novel about a young boy who suddenly finds himself living with his estranged father after his mother unexpectedly passes away. Forced to relocate for the summer to a small town in Colorado where his father lives, Alex contends with his grief and anger with the help of a spunky horse named Rio. The summer brings tribulations but also celebrations and a mature awareness that life’s unexpected curveballs can have surprising outcomes. 

It’s a sweet story about a boy and his father and a boy and his horse. Young horse lovers will no doubt enjoy some of the horsey details, including chapters from Rio’s point of view. The plot feels a bit too saccharine for my taste and there’s no real dramatic tension despite some rather dramatic events. I never for one moment doubted the conclusion. Secondary characters are not well developed but the main characters are. Dialogue is sparse, mostly interior monologues, so there’s a lot of telling versus showing. On the plus side, Alex’s dad is a good man and a good father even if he’s a bit of the gruff, silent cowboy type. It seems that irreconcilable differences between the parents created the biggest obstacle to coparenting rather than a lack of interest or love. When he finally has the chance, Alex’s dad proves without a doubt his ability to love, care, and provide for Alex. Alex learns that grief and healing occur in many phases. He develops responsibility, empathy, and resilience over the course of the summer. Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart would be a strong recommendation for the reader who likes On a Good Horse.
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What a fun, clean and sweet read!
I've never read a horse story quite like this one. I did love it because I love horses and I feel that I've come to know this one very well.
I also can't image falling asleep in the saddle. I think I'd be afraid I'd fall off and get trampled on. But good ol Rio. He's such a sweet horse. 
I envied Alex in a way. He had it all and didn't even realize it. Even tho he's a great kid and all.
This new to me author is great! I liked how she pulled me right into Alex and Rio's story.  Her style of writing is wonderful! 
I didn't feel that this book was hurried in anyway! I loved everything about it! 
This would make an awesome heartwarming Hallmark movie. 
The cover is a delight! I could feel this horses' delight at running free. It looks like he certainly was enjoying himself lol!
But anyway, great characters, wonderful storyline for horse lovers everywhere in the world!
My thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this book. I was NOT required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.
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I was very excited to read Darby Karchut's contemporary middle grade, I knew it was going to be special and it was even better than I had imagined; it is an incredibly beautiful and heartfel story and I'd absolutely recomment it to anyone, no matter their age, because even if this is aimed towards a MG audience, I'm sure anyone who read this will love and appreciate this book.

The story is told from two perspectives: Alex, and Rio, the horse. After tragedy hits, Alex is sent to live with his estranged father; now if you've read some of Darby's books before you'll know she's fantastic at writing father/son dynamics and this is another great example. Reading about how they go their way into repairing their relationship and also about Alex trying to heal after the tragedy and the role Rio plays in all of this, it's just amazing. I was left  with a newfound admiration for horses and a wish to one day learn to ride one or really just interact with them because they're extraordinary creatures.

Loved the characters, loved the writing, loved the development of the story. I can only congratulate Darby for gifting us with this brilliant book, do yourself a favor and read it.
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On A Good Horse is told in the dual perspective of Alex mixed in with chapters that feature the internal dialogue of Rio.  Rio is sympathetic to Alex's grief and always expresses a desire in wanting to help him overcome his sadness.  Rio's also the first to recognize that Alex and his father need to mend their relationship.  He's sort of a link between the two where they can share information and Alex can become more "horse savvy."  For Rio he just wants to ride fast across the open range and share that feeling with Alex.   Karchut wonderfully captures that feeling of what riding a horse feels like for the very first time.  The nervousness, anticipation and slight fear.  For Alex it's developing a trust between the two.    As Alex begins to take over more and more of the daily chores and care of Rio, he starts to learn more about his father, what his job entails,  why his parents split apart and just what kind of man his father is.  The relationship between Alex and his father and even Rio and Alex grows slowly.  At first there are those awkward pauses and silences, even misunderstandings between father and son, and then you start to see these beautiful moments where they begin to connect with one another on a more personal level.  This is such a beautiful story, about family and the things that connect us, I just adored the relationship that developed between Alex and his dad.  Especially the moments when Alex's dad was teaching him how to shoe a horse, talking him through the steps, teaching him how to do one and then allowing him to take over and do one of his own.  On A Good Horse will appeal to readers who love reading books about horses, and is perfect for someone who enjoys the complexity of familial relationships and stories about repairing the relationship between a father and son.   **A huge thank you to Owl Hollow Press and NetGalley for the E-ARC **
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“On a Good Horse” is a beautifully written coming-of-age story about a grieving boy, his estranged father and the magnificent horse that brings them together. After Alex’s mother dies unexpectedly, he is forced to spend the summer with his misunderstood father, whom Alex has little to no relationship with.  Alex is heartbroken and angry, but the gift of Rio, a wise and noble Arabian horse, slowly but surely begins to soften Alex’s heart and mend the divide between he and his dad. This book would be a wonderful read-aloud for late-elementary and middle grade students. I will definitely be recommending it to my students. Thank you so much Net Galley for the advanced copy. I thoroughly enjoyed this story.
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This is a well written book that horse lover's of all ages will love. Alex and Rio's story will touch your heart. I loved it! Thank you Owl Hollow Press via NetGalley for the ARC copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Oh my horse loving heart loved this book so much! While this book may be geared towards a middle grade audience, any age will love this story of a boy and his horse learning to heal.  While I loved the chapters from Alex's point of view, I absolutely adored the chapters from Rio's point of view.  

Death of a parent is a main theme in this book but is done in such an amazing way.  After the death of his mom, Alex is sent to spend the summer with his estranged dad in Colorado.  Alex's path to healing is carried out from the back of his new horse Rio.  

I highly recommend this book and will be pressing it into the hands of everyone I can find.  " Easier to carry the bad when you're mounted on a good horse" 

Thank you Netgalley and Owl Hollow Press for the advanced copy in exchange for a honest review.
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There aren't any words for how much I enjoyed this book. It's really funny, which is good because it also deals with a boy who's lost his mom and who is basically building a relationship with his dad from scratch. It's not like they'd never met, but the divorce was acrimonious and they didn't see each other very often. 

This is Darby's contemporary middlegrade debut, and it's amazing. As anyone who reads her books can attest, one of her very real strengths is writing great father-son relationships, but this one is on a whole other level. Alex and his dad (Rob) have no foundation at all (seriously, Rob is the parent who sees his kid maybe once a year and shows up with a picture book for a seven year old. And it's not entirely his fault--again, VERY acrimonious divorce and he lives far away) so seeing the two of them learn to connect is absolutely beyond touching. It doesn't hurt that Rob, bless his heart, is not above bribery (he buys Alex a horse).

Also, a few chapters are from the horse's perspective. This is a dangerous choice, because it could become sappy or weird or break the book's pacing. It's actually fantastic though; Rio is a total smartass and his chapters are wonderful and I laughed through all of them. (He's also a bit of a marshmallow but don't repeat that; he would bite me for it.)

I absolutely adore this book. Highly recommended.
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