This is really a lovely book. 'Wild Ones' is a novel of loyalty, courage and acceptance, set against a backdrop of teenage angst and stunning Oregon landscape. Young readers will find a sympathetic friend in 16-year-old Breeze Jordan, and older readers will recognize the pain and insecurity of being poised between childhood and adulthood in a complicated and uncertain world. Goodison's crisp, natural narrative style and fast-paced plot make this a captivating read from beginning to end. Highly recommended for all current and former angsty, adolescent horse-lovers!
Leigh Goodison's use of the first person to describe her protagonists' struggles solidifies their personalities, closely involves readers in their lives, and succeeds in creating believable dialogue and responses to life: "It sounds sappy, but I couldn’t help wishing that one day I’d find someone to love me like that. Whether it was from a foster parent, or a boyfriend, or maybe just getting closer to my friends. The yearning inside me was so great my throat ached."In the end it's the well-drawn, moving character of Breeze that brings her world and choices to life, and which makes Wild Ones a satisfying story of life's evolution, the options people consider when facing adversity, and (ultimately) how to pick a path that leads to happiness and human connections no matter where 'home' lies.
D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Review http://midwestbookreview.com/cbw/jun_14.htm#donovan
Breeze Jordan lost her mother and became a ward of the state, hopping from foster home to foster home, landing herself at the Stark School. The Stark School is a state-run home for “troubled” teenagers and in her three roommates, Breeze finally makes some friends. The Stark Raving Lunatics make up their own code of conduct, share some secrets, and cause mischief. Breeze is placed in yet another foster home, this time a cattle ranch owned by the Thompsons, Frank and Emily. She also now has a foster brother, Jonathan, who has special needs. With no cell signal or internet, Breeze is cut off from her friends and works on a plan to get herself shipped back to the Stark School.
When the Thompsons are arrested on Federal charges, Breeze takes it upon herself to discover the truth with the help of Jared – the boy next door. WILD ONES is a beautifully written and insightful novel about a girl who thought there was no hope of truly belonging. WILD ONES is a great coming of age story. Breeze is alone in the world and when she’s brought into a new foster home, she’s desperate to escape. Yet there is something to this family which calls to Breeze and when the chips are down, she searches for a way to get past her fears and make a difference. I highly recommend WILD ONES – I think everyone will find something to relate to in this book!
Star, The Bibliophilic Bookblog http://www.bibliophilicbookblog.com/2014/07/book-review-wild-ones-by-leigh-goodison.html
Wild Ones has been nominated for a 2015 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award (click on the '2015 Nominees' link). http://pnba.org/awards.htm