Ride On by Faith Erin Hicks
Cover art captures the trusting, tender relationship between of a young girl and a Gelding. Hicks uses the term Horse Girl to describe a young girl enamored with horses. The feeling appears to be mutual. This horse is devoted to a human.
Twelve-year-old Victoria is a new rider at Edgewood Stables. She may be new to this equestrian facility, but she is obviously not a novice. The stables owner is so impressed that she asks Victoria to train the new schooling horse.
This is a story about relationships. When Victoria's best friend gets her own horse, the friendship dynamic changes. Victoria wonders: was riding at Waverly Stables the only thing the two had in common?
Stung by the girls’ heated exchange, Victoria is hesitant to connect with a trio of Edgewood's regulars. What will it take to overcome past hurt and make new friends? These stable hands have their own problems. Maybe they need Victoria just as much as she needs them.
Trust is recurring theme. In a climactic scene, trust plays a pivotal role.
Hicks is particularly skilled at revealing undercurrents that simmer beneath the surface. Misunderstandings, first impressions, and frustrations are often shown with a facial expression, simple gesture, or body placement within a panel.
In addition to horses, Victoria and her newfound friends share a fascination with the sci fi series Beyond the Galaxy These nerdy fans are looking forward to the release of new episodes and concoct an elaborate scheme to celebrate their favorite show.
Back matter includes the author’s history as a Horse Girl. Faith’s childhood experiences somewhat ways mirror the protagonist Her adult memories and dreams. The inclusion of a photograph and childhood drawings of horses is a welcome bonus.
It is obvious that Hicks has more than a passing interest in horses, her love for all things equestrian shine on every panel, every page. She knows what it means to develop a close relationship with a horse. This is more than a hobby and far exceeds athletic prowess.
Even when it feels like it's the end of the world and you've lost friendships, there are other communities out there who might be more supportive of the person you want to be."