Series: Hundred Oaks #4
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on December 3rd, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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—cocky, popular and completely out of her league. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries.
With her dream of becoming a horse jockey, Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules either. She’s not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack…
I start this review in acute distress because I’M OUT OF MIRANDA KENNEALLY BOOKS NOW AND WAITING IS HORRENDOUS. *cough* Racing Savannah is another excellent installment in her Hundred Oaks series, with another swoony romance and a great southern vibe.
The sport in question for Racing Savannah is horseback riding, which is new to me, but opens the door to so much adorableness. Savannah quickly becomes close to Tennessee Star, a tricky horse with an impressive pedigree. He hates men, but loves Savannah, and the two together… So magical! Also, the whole story takes place at a ranch, which means cowboys, which is like… hell yes. I don’t know what’s gotten into me, but I’m starting to really like books that have this kind of southern charm, like Magnolia. Anyway, I love how passionate Savannah is about horses – because it’s basically the only thing she has. It’s a pretty dangerous sport, but she really goes for it and doesn’t let anyone stop her.
Savannah is way different from Kenneally’s other main characters. Her family is extremely poor and deeply in debt, because her mother passed away and left them with a mound of medical bills. Savannah does what she can to help earn some money for her family – with a half-sibling on the way – and ends up helping out around the Goodwin ranch, even sometimes acting as their maid. She’s pretty much never even entertained the idea of going to college, thinking it an impossibility. I love Kenneally’s way of creating such different characters to really capture the full spectrum of lifestyles teen girls are going through. Savannah is from a completely different walk of life than me, and though I couldn’t relate to her, I found her truly interesting.
Racing Savannah is arguably the most romance-centric book in the Hundred Oaks series so far. Once Savannah starts helping at the ranch, she meets Jack, who is the heir basically. He’s rich, handsome, popular, and pretty cocky. But as he is the boss and she is staff, they’re both told multiple times not to get involved. Yet there is something between them. I’m torn about that, to be honest. Savannah gets pretty obsessive about him pretty quickly, and even when she claims she isn’t, she continuously thinks about him and wishes they could be involved. It was a *bit* much for me.
But on the other hand, once they give in to their mutual attraction, it’s not hard to get caught up in their sparks. Kenneally writes her romances HOT HOT HOT. And I might have thought they moved a bit quickly, but I’m okay with that. I kind of like that “forbidden romance” dynamic, where they have to sneak around, but Kenneally again doesn’t stray too far from reality. Savannah doesn’t want to just sneak around, and she does stand up for herself in that, which I really respect. And I feel like their relationship is a strong one – Jack challenges her about her nonexistent plans for college and gives her so many opportunities with horseback riding. Though he can act like a noncommittal douche at times, he does show that he cares about her.
Kenneally’s cast of supporting characters also show her brilliance. I loved the friendship between Savannah and Rory – Will (from Stealing Parker)’s brother – and that they stayed just friends, right from the start – no confusion. Rory and Vanessa were an adorable side ship. And I liked seeing the beginning of Kelsey and Colton, who we get to know better in Breathe, Annie, Breathe, and even getting a glimpse of Annie herself. The best part for me, though, was Will and Parker. I don’t want to spoil what happens to them. BUT EEEE. I’m so happy for them. To top it all off, Savannah’s relationship with her father was also a moving one. He’s terrified of losing her, but in the end – together with Jack’s father – he’s a great supporter for her. Kenneally does such great, healthy family dynamics.