Having followed her family in leaving Brazil, Bia is now determined to get out from in the shadow of her famous brothers and father and begin her own life. She wants the full, American, college experience, and living in a dorm hours away from her family seems to be a good start. But her positive outlook is crushed when she becomes the target of bullies, and before long, her only escape is a nearby ranch with horses. But she can’t escape Jonah and Garrett, two half-brothers who have a little secret from which no good can come.
But... There were places in the story where the English was just… Well, it didn’t sound like Americans talking. It wasn’t bad grammar or anything; it was just strange word choices that made the very American characters sound like perhaps English wasn’t their first language. It was odd.
And like the previous book, Breaking the Reins, there were issues with the horse aspect of the story. For instance, anyone who’s ever owned or taken regular care of a horse knows that if its nose is wet and cold, there’s a problem. But apparently this was normal for perfectly healthy horses in the story? My horses’ noses were always warm and softer than velvet. Well, except for when the Arabian got sick, which he liked to do around 3 in the morning on a school night. Anyhow, that wasn’t the only thing the book got wrong when it came to horses, but it was the most obvious. Well researched or not, these mistakes were pretty distracting.
The Verdict: The major conflict of the story was that Bia was different, foreign and unable to fully integrate into American college society, and while I’m sure that’s not uncommon, the level of bullying was a bit hard to stomach and not entirely believable. That may just be that my experiences are so different than what was portrayed in the book, but I wasn’t entirely sold that an entire campus would believe someone’s a slut simply because some catty girls and frat boys make ignorant assumptions about ethnicity. Then again, my college was so ginormous that you were lucky if you knew 10% of your own graduating class. And I’m also in a state where our worst assumption about Bia might have been that she was Mexican (like most of our population) instead of Brazilian — we seem to think everyone with a decent tan speaks Spanish. So maybe I’m not the best judge of all that. But back to the story…
Bia was actually a lot of fun, a strong character who, despite the bullying she was subjected to, was quick with words and determined to shoulder the burden. What really warmed me to her, though, was her relationship with the horses. Truth be told, I’m more likely to get along with someone who prefers animals to people, so her little escape was right up my alley. And that part about Midnight? Absolutely perfect.
Of course, then there was Garrett, who was all kinds of hot. Bia tried to keep him at arm’s length, but that was one hot cowboy. I was disappointed in him, though, for his role in things. He may have been a good guy who made a stupid mistake, but he should have come clean about it a lot sooner than he did. Knowing what Bia was going through with all the rumors and social nightmare, his keeping things a secret was all the more upsetting.
All in all, though, it was still a good book, fraught with drama and angst as the characters navigated through a bumpy college romance. Bia and Garrett are so different from each other that they’re perfect for each other, and watching them figure out themselves and their relationship was nothing if not entertaining.