Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ghost Medicine by Andrew Smith

I write from Port Angeles, Washington on a ferry to Victoria, BC. One of the great trials I am working through is carving enough time to 1). read and 2). write about the great books I am reading. Ahh well, the gift of time a beautiful ferry and drive time offers!!

Andrew Smith wrote the book Stick, an enticing YA morsel that I loved reading:  http://bookpeepwonders.blogspot.ca/search?q=Stick+by+Andrew+Smith.  I recently stumbled across Ghost Medicine, written in 2008. It has been a perfect read for me this last week leading up to and beginning our trek North. I frequently feel blessed to be able to read in the car, and this trip has offered me multiple opportunities to dive right into those patiently- waiting books. I finished up Ghost Medicine in the first hour, heartily grabbed by Smith’s ability to grow plot tension.

Troy Stotts is a young upstart teen, eager to figure out life and find his place as he grows up. He loves most veins of working with horses, but he is battling his own inner demons on loss. He decides to talk with a rancher who owns a ton of horses and loads of acres of land for a job. It doesn’t hurt that the rancher just so happens to be the father of the girl of his dreams. Side story with bully Cha……, deputy sheriff’s son filled with ugly  meanness, grows to center stage by the end of the read. Other teens fill in Troy’s inner circle: Tommy who also works on the ranch and Gabe and Luz, siblings and children of big-daddy rancher with love, friendship, and protection. Oh and there’s that little cautious romance going on with Luz….just sayin’. Author Smith does a sweet job of really building tension in this book, all the while surrounding the teens with the dreamy world of horses. I imagine this book listed as a coming-of-age novel, focusing more on how Troy lives his life without his brother and mother, both of whom have died during his lifetime; his father ungracefully meandering through his own grief after losing his wife and Troy’s mother but absolutely doing his best. The storyline takes us through protagonists and antagonists, all while Troy tries to make sense of life and loss. A cabin way up in the woods offers key solace and treachery, and a neighborly widow offers support in surprising ways as well.

I really enjoyed this one, especially to start off spring break. I escaped into a whole ‘nother world. This is a worthy read for those of us who dream about horses and the lives of living on a ranch, of course with twists and turns and survival. 

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