Life has been difficult for Maia’s family since her brother, Ramon, had an accident that left him in a wheelchair and her parents lost their jobs. Money is scarce. With no other choice, Maia must surrender her beloved horse, Selena, to a rescue center.
There she meets Emma, who offers to let her volunteer on the ranch so she can spend time with Selena and the other horses. The girls become close and also devise a plan to help Ramon by suggesting using the horses as a means for physical therapy. Emma and Maia’s friendship turns to attraction; however, these new feelings go against Maia’s family expectations and everything she’s been raised to believe. She struggles with not only her feelings but worries how her family will react.
Emotions and other challenges threaten to derail their relationship before it starts. The narrative becomes a bit cliche with the addition of the homophobic and spiteful suitor, Billy. The character representation of the vengeful, alpha male seeking trouble for unrequited attraction was too stereotypical and had to stomach.
My main criticisms for the book have to do with pacing and plot development. Thematically, there is great potential but there is A LOT going on:
- Ramon's accident and disability
- Family financial crisis
- Animal abuse
- Family beliefs and obligations
- LGBTQ issues
- Establishing identity
Overall, the pacing felt rushed and the writing a bit choppy with its transitions while trying to tackle all these facets. I would have preferred to see this as a potential series focusing on different characters over time and letting their stories develop.
Final rating: 2 out of 5 stars