Wild Girl by Patricia Reilly GiffAdolescent Fiction
This is a beautiful, tender, coming-of-age story.
Lidie has grown up with her aunt and uncle, waiting for the opportunity of being reunited with her father and brother one day. When Lidie's mother died, the rest of the family moved to the US from Brazil to create a better life. Lidie has been preparing for going to the US her entire life and she is shocked by her feelings when this dream comes true. She didn't expect to miss her aunt, uncle, her home and everything that was familiar to her, so much. Lidie thought being reunited with her father and brother would feel like coming back to her family, but it has been so many years since she's seen them that they are more like strangers. And, they treat her like the little girl they left behind, not the young woman she has become. Lidie is being treated like a baby and more than anything, she wants to show her father and brother how much she has in common with them, like training and riding racehorses.
Lidie's story is interspersed with the story of a young filly, a newborn horse taken from its farm home and mother in order to be trained as a race horse at the farm where Lidies' father works as a trainer and her brother as a jockey.
This is a really short, really fast read. It's a great book to read aloud during race time (the Kentucky Derby, for example). It gives a glimpse into trainers' and jockeys' lives and experiences. It's also a great lesson on immigration and separation from family.