Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally | Book Review

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.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Great review, April! You really gave me a sense of the story. I loved Catching Jordan and liked Stealing Parker but I haven’t read this one yet. I wonder if Savannah’s father would accept help from the government if the Medicaid option was an option for him?
    Jennifer Lane recently posted..New Adult Scavenger Hunt #Giveaway Author @AnnMNoser #NewASHMy Profile

  2. I read this a few months ago. It was the first Keanneally book I ever read. Actually, it’s the only Keanneally book I have ever read. I didn’t love this one. I didn’t hate it, but I wasn’t all that impressed either. I did like that it was full of sex positive messages, but overall I wasn’t all that in love with the boy. I thought he was kind of a jerk. I couldn’t quite understand WHY Savannah liked him.
    Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook recently posted..Review: When It’s Right by Jennifer RyanMy Profile

  3. I liked Racing Savannah! It’s such a fun addition to the Hundred Oaks series, and it definitely was one of the ones that strongly appealed to me because it involves horses. I’m so glad that you wound up liking this one, and definitely hope you take the time to read Stealing Parker and Things I Can’t Forget AND Breathe Annie Breathe. Those 3 are definitely awesome!
    Alexa S. recently posted..Tunes & Tales: FourMy Profile

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