Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Author: Dandi Daley Mackall
Publisher: Tyndale Kids
“I can’t help smiling to myself. Maybe that’s why Blackfire and I have understood each other from the beginning. Running away is something I’ve always understood,” Dakota ponders in Dandi Daley Mackall’s first book in her Starlight Animal Rescue series, Runaway.
Targeted toward young pre-teen and teenagers who enjoy horses and rescuing animals, this eBook contains two hundred and seventeen pages. With no profanity, sexual scenes, or extreme violence, the novel is about finding hope and love through animals and God. Written in 2008, it includes eighteen easy-to-read chapters, ending with tips on finding the perfect pet and the author’s biography.
In this tome, Dakota Brown is not happy but pretends to be wherever she lives. Going to her eighth foster home, she knows what to say and how to act the part of an almost sixteen year old girl shuffled around. By keeping quirky lists of various topics, she is already devising a plan to run away the minute she sets foot on the next family’s farm in Nice, Illinois.
Yet the Coolidges seem different than her usual caregivers. Not only in charge of other foster children with health and psychological issues, the parents run an animal rescue shelter that includes horses, dogs, and cats. With the children’s help, the entire family participates in guiding beaten, abused, and abandoned animals back to health, finding them new owners.
When Dakota meets the frightened, unfriendly horse she calls Blackfire, she feels a kindred spirit that urges her to stop running away. Still convinced this family is a carbon copy of other foster homes, she continues to make plans with a former foster friend to escape on her upcoming birthday.
Determined to learn how to drive a truck for her getaway, the young girl faces the family dynamics head on as she starts bonding with the black horse. Emotions and decisions consume her as she feels God’s presence in her life, getting her attention.
Written in first person with wit, sarcasm, and feeling, Mackall hits home on the teenager’s angst and tender heart toward an animal she wants but, like her, cannot always understand. As the first of the series based on the rescue animal shelter, young readers will enjoy plenty of future stories.
Thanks to Tyndale Kids for furnishing this book no charge on Facebook without any requirement to review it.