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Another Kind of Cowboy

Review

Another Kind of Cowboy

Alex Ford doesn’t have the traditional family. His mother left him and his twin sisters, and his alcoholic father lives in an RV in the driveway. Alex’s aunt moves in to help, but she isn’t into the domestic role too much. So the house is a mess, and dinner usually ends up a dangerous adventure. Alex tries to help out, but his heart and as much free time as he can find go to horses.

Alex has loved horses ever since he can remember. When he was young, he pretended that his bicycle was a horse, riding all over town and then providing it with a rubdown, dried grass clippings and a water bucket in the garage. Then one summer, his father wins a horse named Turnip at a card game. Turnip becomes Alex’s best friend, one of his only pals. They take western lessons together and soon begin entering riding competitions --- and winning. His dad glows with pride at his cowboy of a son.

However, Alex’s interests lie beyond western horsemanship. Ever since he witnessed a dressage show on TV, he longs to learn the grace, control and beauty of this English style of riding. But he knew his dad wouldn’t approve of this mostly female-enlisted sport. Participants wear snug riding britches, not belt buckles and cowboy hats. One day, he receives an invitation to learn dressage at a new riding academy. Alex jumps at the chance, offering up work in exchange for lessons and dreading the day when his father finds out not only this secret but his other one --- that he is gay.

Alex meets Cleo O’Shea at the new riding academy, and they strike up an unusual friendship. Cleo comes from a very rich family, and she seems to take all of her wealth privileges for granted, including her fancy and feisty horse named Tandava. Not having anything important to her in life, she begins going to parties with her new roommate, doing drugs and drinking. But the threat of losing her horse and her friendship with Alex puts a new perspective on her life.

ANOTHER KIND OF COWBOY is an enchanting story of friendships, horses and goals. Susan Juby has created this wonderful page-turner of a book that so graciously tells about a young man’s dedication to his goals while he searches for acceptance, and about how a young woman’s lack of direction and goals leads her into the devastating world of drugs and alcohol. Told with a hint of humor and a deep compassion for her characters, Juby delivers a winner!

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on December 18, 2007

Another Kind of Cowboy
by Susan Juby

  • Publication Date: December 18, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen
  • ISBN-10: 0060765178
  • ISBN-13: 9780060765170