Synopsis from Hachette Book Group:
The Line Tender meets The Secret Horses of Briar Hill in this hopeful, heartfelt story about one girl’s search for legendary horses and her quest to piece her family back together.
Twelve-year-old Claire Barton doesn’t like the “flutter feeling” that fills her chest when she worries about the future, but she knows what she loves: the land that’s been in her family for three generations; her best friend Maya; her family’s horses, Sunny and Sam; and her older brother Andy. That’s why, with Andy recently sent to rehab and her parents planning to sell the horses, Claire’s world feels like it might flutter to pieces.
When Claire learns about equine therapy, she imagines a less lonely future that keeps her family together, brother and horses included. But, when she finds what seem to be mysterious wild horses in the woods behind her house, she realizes she has a bit more company than she bargained for. With this new secret — and a little bit of luck — Claire will discover the beauty of change, the power of family, and the strength within herself.
About: The Wild Path is a middle grade mystery written by Sarah R. Baughman. It was recently published on 9/1/2020 by Little Brown Young Readers, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, hardcover, 331 pages. The genres are middle grade fiction, mystery, and fantasy. This book is intended for readers ages 8 to 12, grades 3 to 7. According to the publisher’s website, “Little, Brown Books for Young Readers began publishing books for children in 1926. We currently publish a distinguished and diverse list of about 135 books a year. Today the group is divided into three imprints: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers features our core list of picture books and hardcover and paperback fiction and nonfiction for middle grade and young adult readers; LB Kids produces novelty and brand/licensed tie-ins; and Poppy publishes paperback original series for teen girls.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading The Wild Path on 8/20/2020 and finished it on 10/9/2020. (I’m reading multiple books and it takes me longer to finish one). This book was an excellent read! I loved the brother and sister relationship. Andy was a super cool older brother with his stories and his jokes. He was especially fantastic to take his sister exploring in the woods and up the mountains. There were many good reminders, such as about being unable to control everything, especially other people’s actions. Marcus’ story as well as Nari could be relatable to many readers. For someone with anxiety like the main character Claire, an advice such as being able to disregard the nervousness on the inside because nobody can see it was unforgettable.
“What did one wall say to the other wall?” P42.
This book was told in the first person point of view following Claire, 12. Her older brother Andy, 18 was at a rehab for painkillers addiction. Her mom recently lost her job and now Claire is sad that she’s going to lose both of her family horses Sunny and Sam. What kept her going was the snail mails between her and her brother. In the mean time, she also attended a support group to help her understand her role in everything that went on around her. From there, she came up with a plan that could help her brother, give her mom income, and save her horses.
“How does the ocean say hello?” P62.
The Wild Path was well written and a helpful read! I loved that this story mentioned a path and the discovery that each person would have to choose his/her own. I liked the conversation between Nari and Claire about dealing with changes. Their siblings may not be the same as they were before and they will have to learn to accept the new version of them. The support group that Claire attended was pretty awesome. Those jokes were fantastic and I loved sharing them with my son and in my Instagram posts. The horses were an added bonus! I highly recommend everyone to read this book!
Pro: fast paced, page turner, siblings, friendship, understanding addiction, coping with addiction, horses
I rate it 5 stars!
About the Author:
Sarah R. Baughman is a former middle and high school English teacher who now works as an educational consultant and author. She graduated from Grinnell College and the University of Michigan, then went on to teach English overseas in three different countries. After spending a number of years in rural northeastern Vermont, she recently moved back to Michigan with her husband and their two children. (Photo and info obtained from Hachette’s website).