I haven’t done a lot of cover reveals here, but when my friends Kiersi Burkhart and Amber Keyser contacted me to see if I would like to host a reveal for one of the titles in their Quartz Creek Ranch series, I nearly broke my capslock emailing back an emphatic YESSSSS. These are just the books middle-grade me would have loved: awesome girl main characters and horses. But don’t just take eleven-year-old me’s word for it. Find out for yourself, early, by winning an advance copy! Details at the end of this post.
Quartz Creek Ranch: Shy Girl & Shy Guy
For every kid, there’s a horse that can help. At least, that’s the idea at Quartz Creek Ranch. But Hanna doubts it will be true for her. Going to Quartz Creek was her mother’s idea; Hanna’s too terrified of horses to even go near them.
Then Hanna meets Shy Guy, a gray gelding who’s just as afraid of people as she is of horses. Of all people, Hanna is the one Shy Guy begins to trust, revealing his grace and skill in the arena. But when Shy Guy’s mysterious past comes to light, everything they’ve worked for starts slipping away. Can Shy Guy’s confidence in Hanna give her the self-confidence she needs to save him?
Add Shy Girl & Shy Guy to your Goodreads shelf.
Here’s what Kiersi Burkhart has to say about this wonderful book and its cover:
Last week, we unveiled the cover for ONE BRAVE SUMMER, one of the other four Quartz Creek Ranch novels, over at Pop! Goes the Reader. Go take a look if you haven’t seen it yet—we are so pleased with the design of all these books!
Before Quartz Creek Ranch, I had never tried “co-writing” with someone before. It’s been such a privilege and a pleasure working with Amber! We’ve become more than just writers-in-arms; we’re close friends, sisters, partners in crime, and sometimes we even mom each other a little.
We both rode horses in our childhood, so most of our story ideas grew out of that shared history. But each book in the Quartz Creek Ranch series started with a seed of an idea that was unique and special to one of us.
Shy Girl & Shy Guy, in particular, is one of those very personal stories for me.
Shy Guy is a beautiful dapple grey who was abandoned by his owner, and finds his way to Quartz Creek Ranch. His fearful behavior leads the knowledgeable horse people at the ranch to believe he’s been abused. The main character, Hanna, is tasked with his rehabilitation.
This isn’t far from an experience I had when I was about Hanna’s age—probably eleven or twelve. I was volunteering at a neighborhood barn when I met Spring.
Her owner had grazed her on the barn’s property, then disappeared. I’m sure that abandonment was a big part of her dislike and fear of humans. Deep down, Spring was a gentle soul. Her people meant a lot to her.
Nobody else at the barn had the time to work with a horse who had spent years left out in a field. Her hooves had become long and curly, and her disposition had grown less and less inclined toward people.
I cared for her every day—brushing her, feeding her, socializing her to barn life so we could trim her long hooves back and work off the massive belly she’d gained from grazing all day. It wasn’t long before she warmed up to me and I could start exercising her again.
Spring was the best trail horse a girl could ask for. Calm, sweet, and mild-mannered, she still knew how to run when I wanted to run. Spring taught me an incredible amount about horsemanship, about compassion, and about the way that hurt leaves its mark on all of us. Especially, though, how hurt can be healed with love and patience.
Once I had rehabilitated Spring enough that any intermediate rider could take her out on the trail, the barn owner waited until I was gone for a few days… and sold her.
I had no opportunity to say goodbye.
Shy Girl & Shy Guy is the book I wrote for Spring. Our story wasn’t nearly so dramatic as Shy Guy and Hanna’s story, of course. But Spring was the horse that taught me I could accomplish the things I set out to do; who taught me that no horse was ever a “lost cause.” In the years following, I acquired another horse that had been neglected and misunderstood—a horse who eventually became the best barrel racer I’ve ever met.
Though Hanna and I don’t have a lot in common in terms of our personality or life story, when I look at the girl on the cover of this book, I feel an intense pang of understanding. I know what the look on her face means. It’s the look you give a horse who has changed your life. Darby Creek did such an incredible job with this cover that I cried when I saw it for the first time.
I hope you like it just as much as I do.
GIVEAWAY: Enter to win an ARC of Shy Girl & Shy Guy by commenting on this post. I’ll choose a winner on Tuesday, October 18 at 8am Pacific. (U.S. only, please.)
|Kiersi Burkhart grew up riding horses on the Colorado Front Range. At sixteen, she attended Lewis & Clark College in Portland and spent her young adult years in beautiful Oregon — until she discovered her sense of adventure was calling her elsewhere. Now she travels around with her best friend, a mutt named Baby, writing fiction for children of all ages.
Connect with Kiersi on kiersi.com, @kiersi on Twitter, and on Facebook.
|Amber J. Keyser is happiest when she is in the wilderness with her family. Lucky for her, the rivers and forests of Central Oregon let her paddle, hike, ski, and ride horses right outside her front door. When she isn’t adventuring, Amber writes fiction and nonfiction for young readers and goes running with her dog, Gilda
Connect with Amber on amberjkeyser.com, @amberjkeyser on Twitter, and on Facebook.