I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally
Also by this author: Defending Taylor
Series: Hundred Oaks #4
Also in this series: Defending Taylor
Published by Sourcebooks, Inc. on December 3rd 2013
Genres: Equestrian, Farm & Ranch Life, Lifestyles, Love & Romance, Sports & Recreation, Young Adult
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Breakout star Miranda Kenneally returns with a delicious novel of forbidden romance 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. She knows the rules—no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries. And with her dream of becoming a professional horse trainer herself, Savannah isn't exactly one to follow the rules either...
Miranda Kenneally’s Racing Savannah is off to the horse races — literally. This entry into the Hundred Oaks series is about Savannah, a girl whose family is involved in the world of horse racing – but on the domestic side of things. On the whole, I really enjoyed this book and am glad I picked it to be my second Kenneally read. However, I will be honest and say that there were some references in this book to others in the series that I didn’t quite get, except for the Catching Jordan references. However, I am now more motivated than ever to read Stealing Parker and Things I Can’t Forget so there’s that — which is quite a positive because prior to this book I wasn’t sure about making that kind of effort to read more in the series.
Savannah Barrow moves from West Virginia to Kentucky with her father and his pregnant, 28 year old (scary I am almost that old!) girlfriend Cindy. There, her father is head groom in the stables owned by the Goodwins. Housing is provided on property. Savannah wants more from life than mucking out barns so she applies to be what’s called an exercise boy, meaning that she exercises horses before races. Savannah has a way with horses and so there’s this difficult horse named Star who has Secretariat in his lineage, but is disobedient when it comes to the races. Savannah makes it her mission to find out what Star’s deal is and to get Star to win his races. Meanwhile, the stables where she works are managed by 17 year old Jack Goodwin – his management of the stables is a test from his father to see if he’s any good at management. There’s definitely some chemistry going on in Racing Savannah between Kenneally’s titular character and Jack.
Savannah or Shortcake as her dad is wont to call her is a bundle of awesome. She has red hair — not that this is what makes her awesome. What makes her awesome is her fierce determination. I love that Savannah essentially comes from nothing. Her dad is not wealthy at all — in fact he barely has a high school education and is rather poor. What I am getting at is that everything Savannah has accomplished, she’s done on her own, not with the help of her parents’ money. She refuses to let anyone look down on her or treat her with disrespect. I love this. I love that also Savannah occasionally has these realistic feelings of inferiority when she places herself in comparison to Jack’s supposed paramores.
I am not 100% on board the romance train in Racing Savannah, however, there are some things regarding this romance that I really loved. I loved the whole forbidden aspect of it. Jack is Savannah’s boss and the two worry constantly about crossing ethical boundaries, even though they are both the same age and in high school together. I also thought that Racing Savannah was very sex positive. To be honest with you all, there are sex scenes in this book. There’s a scene that involves a BJ and it’s awkward and written realistically. I like that. I like that this book is realistic about sex and doesn’t slut shame, but instead is positive about sexuality. That’s actually a bonus factor in this book’s favor. Furthermore, Savannah is open in talking about it with her friend. So yeah, score for this book.
Overall, I enjoyed Racing Savannah. What made me downrate this book is that I don’t quite think it’s super well written. I mean, yeah it’s a fast read and all, but the dialogue sort of feels a bit hokey and stilted to me. Also — there are parts where Savannah mentions her family being unable to afford health insurance and my inner human services worker self was all someone take that girl and her family to the Department of Social Services or to a health navigator and get them signed up for Medicaid. THAT STATED, I really really enjoyed Kenneally’s book and would certainly recommend it to all of my contemporary loving friends. Kenneally makes horse racing come alive in a way that does not make me feel bad for the horses, but actually appreciate the sport. I also loved that her main character, Savannah, was someone I could relate to, at least as far as not coming from a privileged background and actually being someone who is poor for real.