Author: Miranda Kenneally (Twitter)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publish Date: December 3, 2013
Genre: YA, Contemporary
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…
It's no secret that Miranda Kenneally's stories are a bit more like guilty pleasure reads for me, if only because I know I can expect fun, sweet, light-hearted romance. The beautiful thing about Racing Savannah though, is that while, yes, it is all of the above, it is also so much more. It's funny. It's sarcastic. It's relevant. And, just when I'm certain we're going to get a story that offers more sweet than substance, the novel surprises me and offers true character growth and development. It's something I've come to expect from Ms. Kenneally's books. While on the one hand, we get plenty of sweetness and flirty romance, on the other hand, we also get a surprising amount of depth. Racing Savannah is no exception, and as we truly get to know Savannah and Jack, it's a pleasure to catch glimpses of our former favourite characters who have since grown up and moved on with their lives.
Savannah was, perhaps, the most lovable heroine I've read about in a good while. She's one of the lone women in a man's world of horse jockeying, yet she takes the sidelong glances, the whispers and the snark in stride. She had this infectious personality that brims over and reels us into her story in a way that makes it impossible not to fall in love with her and her big dreams. Jack surprised me, as well. From the premise, I worried that we would fall into the trap in which we're stuck with a "poor little rich boy," but he surprised me with his depth and the amount of complexity within him. He was the perfect counterbalance for Savannah, and watching their two characters meet, mingle and begin to grow in a similar direction was truly fun and, at times, so sweet it hurt.
I think that the true strength of Racing Savannah though, is the painstaking amount of care that the author put into crafting such a story. A lesser author might have rested on the laurels of the age-old "star-crossed lovers from different sides of the track," but Ms. Kenneally gives us far more than that. We're given Savannah, who has far less than Jack, but lives a comfortable, empowered and happy day-to-day life. Then we Jack, who has been given everything - wealth, privilege, responsibility - but he has an earnest inner yearning for more that was actually quite tangible. He'd been given everything he'd ever wanted in life, and this is the first time that he actually had to stand up and fight for something he really wanted, all the while still balancing his responsibilities and desire to please his father.
Overall, Racing Savannah pleasantly surprised me. While yes, at times, the novel is a bit more saccharine than I might hope for, there is also a beautiful, powerful amount of depth to this love story. I can't help it - I'm just in love with these books. I give it a 4.5 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those who enjoy contemporary fiction and sweet romance.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.