Review and Freebie Friday: Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally

Racing Savannah
by Miranda Kenneally
To be published on December 3, 2013
by Sourcebooks Fire

Source: Around the World ARC Tours and NetGalley.

Connect with the author: website | Twitter | Facebook.

Summary of book from author's website: They’re from two different worlds. He lives in the estate house, and she spends most of her time in the stables helping her father train horses. In fact, Savannah has always been much more comfortable around horses than boys. Especially boys like Jack Goodwin—cocky, popular and completely out of her league. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries. With her dream of becoming a horse jockey, Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules either. She’s not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack…
My take:  I'm a huge fan of Miranda Kenneally. I love that her books are so funny and touching and thought-provoking. I love the way that my favorite characters from her books make appearances in subsequent books -- that way, I never have to say goodbye! And I love that she isn't afraid to take on big issues. In Catching Jordan, she looked at women in sports. Stealing Parker and Things I Can't Forget both involved questions of faith and morality.

Racing Savannah tackles the issue of class and socioeconomic status-- something that isn't always portrayed in YA books in a thoughtful and interesting way. Savannah is the daughter of a horse trainer and the step-daughter of a maid. No one in Savannah's family has gone to college. She's more comfortable around horses than books.

When Savannah and her family move to Tennessee, she meets Jack, the son of the rich family  that hired her father to help with their horses. Jack is pretty oblivious about his relative privilege. He's had everything he ever wanted, and it doesn't even occur to him that other people might not have had all the same advantages. When Savannah lands a job exercising horses, she's working for Jack. This becomes a problem, because they're drawn to each other. Does this rich boy/poor girl couple have a chance to make it?

There were a lot of things I adored about this story. I loved Savannah. She was funny and down to earth, but also determined and confident and full of plans and dreams. I loved the horses. I'm a huge animal lover, and I could almost smell the hay (and manure!) and feel the wind in my hair as Savannah rode. Rory, a secondary character and aspiring screenwriter, was hilarious. And I loved the way that the book really showed the obstacles that many working class kids face when thinking about going to college.

I was a little uncertain about Jack. While I was pleased that he wasn't unrealistically perfect, I wasn't always crazy about him and I wasn't always feeling that he was the right person for Savannah. And I felt that this book didn't have the same wrenching emotional journey that the main characters in the Hundred Oaks books usually undertake.

But overall,  I really enjoyed Racing Savannah. Fans of prior books will be SO excited at the special cameo appearances by their favorite characters, who just might include Jordan, Sam, Matt, Kate,  Parker, Will…  Some former characters have younger siblings that we get to know in Racing Savannah, which was also exciting.

I'm giving an ARC of Racing Savannah away for Freebie Friday! Open internationally, but if winner is international I will order them a paperback from The Book Depository when it releases internationally on December 16.

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  1. I haven't read any of Miranda Kenneally's books--would this be a good starter book or should I read a different one first?

    1. They are companion books with crossover characters, so technically it doesn't matter, but you won't know who the cameo characters are. I'd start with Catching Jordan!

  2. Awesome review and thanks for the giveaway!

  3. I really loved tho shook but more because of Savannah than the romance. I just never really got onboard with Jack.

    Like you, I liked that he wasn't perfect but he said a few things that were a line crosser for me and I was hoping for a bigger gesture in the end for me to really believe in their HEA.

  4. Never heard anything about this author or this book but I am going to check it out.

    Thanks for sharing.


  5. I love that this is looking at class issues-I've read a few articles lately about how diversity in YA doesn't usually get applied to class. When I read a YA novel that isn't about someone in the middle class or above, it always kind of shocks me and I have to highlight it because it really isn't that common. The exception is sometimes historical novels that will look at someone poor but who often ends up elevated for some reason.

  6. Miranda Kenneally is a favorite author of mine as well. I'm been looking forward to reading this one but for some reason had no idea it was about class issues. I love a romance like that because they generally show that love can happen no matter what social standings!

  7. I'm not a big fan of horses so I'm not sure if I'll really like this one. I think I've read one of Miranda Kenneally's books but not the rest so far. Hope you have a good weekend ☺

  8. I've been meaning to continue with this series. Catching Jordan was one of my favourites but I'm not sure about how I would like the religious content in the two sequels. This one looks great though. Also, I love the horse farm setting. The only other similar book that I read was Love Story by Jennifer Echols. Thanks for a great review!


  9. I think I'd love this one. It'll be interesting to see how they overcome the social class obstacle. Also, horses. Who doesn't love them?

    Great review, Jen.

  10. WOW! Winning this will surely great for me as I live in Indonesia and currently USD's exchange rate to Indonesian Rupiah is so high. Hope I can win since I love Miranda Kenneally's books. Thanks for the opportunity!

  11. Great review, Jen! I haven't read this series or author so I will definitely put this on my maybe pile for now. I'm so picky when it comes to contemporary reads >.<
    -Dee's Reads

  12. I LOVE this series SO much! I can't wait to get a hold of this one, especially since it's set in the world of horses.

  13. Miranda Kenneally is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. She isn't afraid to tackle tougher subjects, but her novels are far from Message books. I agree, Jack probably isn't my favorite leading man from her books so far, but I liked that he was complex, just like Savannah.

  14. I read first book of this series and I loved this - something fresh among all YA books.
    Great review.
    Glass @ Way Too Hot Books

  15. I loved Stealing Parker! I want to read more books by Miranda since then!
    This book sounds adorable! I can't wait to read it!
    Great review, and happy reading!
    Lis @ The reader lines


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