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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Book Review: Boleto by Alyson Hagy

Will Testerman wants more than his older brothers, more than his father, working a full-time job on top of keeping up his small ranch. He buys a beautiful little filly that he plans to train, in the hopes that she could be his ticket out of Wyoming.

And she is, as he moves to California in the fall, after working on a guest ranch all summer, to learn about training polo ponies. Meanwhile, Will learns about who he is, what he stands for, what is important in life, and what he's willing to sacrifice.

This is a hard book to analyze. It's quiet and reserved and the three sections are pretty distinct, with almost nothing from each of them appearing in the others aside from Will and his horses. I wish plot threads from the earlier parts were resolved later, like with Annie, a neighbor who disappeared, and Will's ex-girlfriend and her baby. But those first two sections seemed more focused on developing his character and showing his growth, not developing plot. Which is a shame as I think both could have happened successfully quite easily.

I did like what was there very much, and it was an atmospheric and gentle story, even if occasionally touched by violence. Which is not unexpected in a Western story involving cowboys. It did make for a good discussion in our book club, but unfortunately a lot of that resolved around the unwrapped-up storylines and unexplored resolutions. I liked it, but it could have been so much more.

I checked this book out of the library.

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