Cameo, the Street Pony by Kelly Wilson, Penguin Random House NZ
This is Book 2 in a “junior fiction series” called Showtym Adventures, inspired by true events from the Wilson Sisters’ childhoods. Book 1 was Dandy, the Mountain Pony. The publishers call it a fiction series, but that’s not quite right. The three sisters are real (and very well-known) people, and readers will become aware that the author is apparently writing about herself and her own horse experiences at the age of nine. The strong reality aspect explains why the plot is not structured like most fictional plots for children, with a strong story arc involving drama, suspense, setbacks and challenges.
Once I started reading it primarily as an autobiography, I felt more comfortable with it. Basically it describes how Kelly’s mother brings home an untrained mare for her to train up to competition level. The training is lengthy but successful, and Cameo eventually becomes a star at the Royal Easter Show.
Girls who love ponies and horses, along with fans of the Wilson Sisters’ books and TV show, will enjoy this series.
ISBN 978 0 14 377220 0 RRP $14.99 Pb
Catch Me When You Fall by Eileen Merriman, Penguin Random House
Eileen is the author of Pieces of You, a first-time YA novel that generated rave reviews. I believe this second novel will be just as successful, firmly establishing the author in the ranks of our top YA authors. It’s interesting to note that Eileen has honed her writing skills over the last few years, with her work appearing in a number of national and international journals, as well as anthologies. She also has several short fiction awards under her belt. She did a fiction writing course with Creative Hub in 2013.
Like Pieces of You, this story looks at teenagers with huge problems. Alex has just found out her childhood leukaemia has returned. In a hospital waiting room she meets Jamie and instantly falls in love. It’s only later that she learns he has bipolar disorder. Despite their problems, the pair become involved in an intense love affair. Crises happen and the suspense is killing –what happens to Alex and Jamie? Many readers will be forced to cheat and read the ending…
ISBN 978 0 14 377093 0 RRP 19.99 Pb
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman