Product Details
List Price:
9 to 12
4 to 7
Boyds Mills Press
ISBN-13: 978-1-68437-139-6
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About the Book


Shy farm girl Joni’s new friendship with animal rights activist Chess unravels when Chess’s views push Joni too far in this layered coming-of-age story about two girls and their love for horses. Joni’s world revolves around her beloved horse, Archie, and her family’s Vermont sheep farm. When outspoken, sophisticated Chess moves nearby, Joni is drawn to her, even though Chess questions everything Joni loves—working horses, eating cheese, having pets, and even the farm itself. Torn between desperately wanting a friendship and resenting Chess’s assumptions about horses and farms, Joni mostly keeps her opinions to herself. But when Chess steals their neighbor’s miniature horses to “rescue” them, Joni finds the courage to stand up for her beliefs. With quiet intensity, this timely novel tackles the complex issue of bridging the political divide and building friendships while staying true to yourself.


“(A)n excellently written coming-of-age and friendship story…I had trouble putting it down. I believe many readers will enjoy the deep characters and suspenseful plot.” – School Library Connection

“Haas explores many views on animal welfare, from mindful eating to sustainable farming to working animals to animal rescue. Each perspective is offered with minimal editorializing, allowing readers to decide for themselves what they think is reasonable. The story’s thoughtful examination of the mutual dependency between animals and humans will engage animal lovers and animal ethicists alike.” – The Horn Book  

“(The) first-person voice is fresh and true…Haas…explores the issue of animal rights with sensitivity to both sides. A satisfying read.” –Kirkus Reviews  

Meet the Author

Jessie Haas

Jessie Haas has written more than thirty-five books, most of them about horses. Her novels include Sharper, which won a Golden Kite Honor Award, and Unbroken, which was a Publishers Weekly Best Book, a School Library Journal Best Book, and a CCBC Choice, among other honors. She lives in Vermont with her husband, a horse, two cats, a dog, and a hen. Visit

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