Book Review & Giveaway: Christa's Luck
Author: Jennifer and Michael Grais
Published by: Graisland Productions
Publication Date: 15 June 2015
Page Count: 309
Source: e-book provided by author
Audience: Young Adult – Fiction
Every once in a while, I am reminded of why I love reading. Reading is something that can connect you to anything as long as you allow your imagination the freedom it needs. What I loved about Christa's Luck is the connection it gave me to my past, bringing back fond memories. This book reminded me of the love I have for horses and the horseback riding I did as a child. It made me want to get back out and become involved with horses once again.
Christa's Luck is a story about a teen girl, her horse, and the wild horses of Nevada. Christa is a 13-year-old girl who has been able to ride a horse since she could walk. She loves riding out on the trails that take her into the nearby forests and mountains. Out there is where the wild mustangs roam free, where there are legends of a Lost Herd – the biggest herd in the area – that no man can catch. Christa loves theses horses, their spirits wild and free, and she would do anything for them. That willingness is soon tested because there are people rounding up the wild mustangs and taking them to unknown places to be sold or slaughtered. Christa and her friends fight to stop the round ups, but soon tragedy strikes and she finds herself banding together with those she has been fighting to save her beloved mustangs.
Christa's Luck was truly an inspirational story. It opens your eyes to realities your everyday person wouldn't always think about and it makes you feel like you can do anything if you set your heart and mind to it. The story was inspired by a true horse rescue in the Netherlands several years ago. After watching the video of the rescue, I appreciated even more every word written.
Christa is such a strong character, yet still fragile at times. She is a young teen, still trying to find her place in the world, and her beloved horses help her to find that place. She becomes an advocate for the horses, doing everything she possibly can to stop the round ups, and to get the community more aware of what was truly happening. You could see her growing as you read, becoming more confident. Her family and friends were just as important to the story line, giving her the courage she needed to keep going. We can't forget the horses, either. Every single horse comes alive on the page; they are amazing creatures, so strong and proud, and Christa needs them just as much as they need her.
You could feel the passion that Christa, her family, friends, and even the whole community felt towards the culling of the wild mustangs. You felt the heart-breaking love Christa had for the horses, tame and free both; you could feel the strong bonds, the connection Christa had with these amazing creatures. The authors knew how to evoke those same emotions in the reader. You found yourself laughing and smiling with Christa, crying when she cried; you could feel every emotion. It takes truly talented writers to get that sort of response from their audience.
There were a few consistency issues in this book. Christa saw her first round up on a weekend and went to school on Monday, the next day she was getting up early and riding all day in search of the lost herd, no thought of school. I noticed this time jump or misstep a couple times as I was reading, but this one stood out the most.
The imagery the authors created in this book was incredible. I could almost feel the wind whipping through the horses' manes as they ran at break neck paces; I could see the breath-taking beauty of the landscapes Christa and her friends traversed, and even experience the wildness of the storms that threatened everything they held dear.
Christa's Luck makes the reader become aware of the hardships and even the beauty of the horses still running wild today, all over the world. It makes them want to do their own research on the subject, to see what they can do to help in any way they can. It made me realize that I don't want to see the end of these incredible, beautiful, free animals.
I hope to read many more adventures about Christa and the Lost Herd. After you read this story, if you are interested in the inspiration behind it, here is the video of the real rescue:
One Last Thought: Other than a few grammatical errors - missing quotations marks - and the inconsistencies mentioned earlier, this book was very well written and edited.
Favorite Thing About the Book: I loved the relationships Christa developed with her horses. You could really feel the love she has for all of them.
First Sentence: Looking back, I could have never known how the Lost Herd would change my life forever.
Favorite Character: Jenner
Least Favorite Character: Steve Simmons
Inspired by a real horse rescue, Christa’s Luck is a teen fiction novel about Christa’s love for an endangered herd of wild horses and how her special connection with them inspires her to look beyond her own unforgivable mistakes and try again. She rises up to become a horse advocate at fourteen, whose passion and heart move an entire town to take action.
In the vein of The Horse Whisperer and the Black Stallion, Christa’s Luck is an epic adventure story of courage, friendship and freedom.
"Michael Grais, the co-screenwriter of the 1982 film Poltergeist, and his wife, Jennifer, develop the plot handily, with a slow build toward a final, cinematic crisis in which Christa and her friends enact a daring rescue. ...[T]his is a satisfying YA novel—with a bold, visionary, and active young heroine, to boot. Highly recommended for young fans of horse-related fiction." --Kirkus Reviews
"I just finished reading Christa's Luck. All I can say is I haven't finished a book since Harry Potter that I wanted the author to hurry up with the second. I don't even know what Jennifer and Michael have planned but I sure hope their pens are moving right now. Well, for now I will just reread their great book." --Susan Pommer, Gold Medalist Grand Prix Dressage winner
"I instructed everyone to stay away as I read Christa's Luck. I was so emotional and drawn into the story. The book just keeps rolling and rolling and rolling and building on itself like waves. I totally loved it. I had a spring in my step for days thinking about it and I still miss that family. I can see it on the big screen too." --Jean Dillon, Plymouth, MN
"I was biting my fingers during the climax!" --Janet Hogue, Portland OR
Author Links: Website, and there's two websites they suggest for information on the wild horse issue: Return to Freedom and Love Wild Horses.
About Jennifer Grais
Jennifer Grais is a singer-songwriter who recorded several albums in Los Angeles and Nashville and toured as Jackson Browne’s background singer. When she met Michael and they moved to the rural area of Topanga Canyon, CA, her childhood passion for horses was rekindled. She completed a year-long program of study with Linda Kohanov, best-selling author of “The Tao of Equus”, and “Riding Between the Worlds,” and began exploring a deeper relationship with horses. In December 2006, she was captivated by footage of a horse rescue that took place during a flood in the Netherlands at the hands of women riders. The drama of the rescue inspired the novel, “Christa’s Luck,” a young adult novel co-authored by Michael Grais. Research for the novel exposed Jennifer to the unfolding drama of the wild mustangs in the western United States and became the primary plot of the book. Read more about Jennifer and the inspirations behind Christa’s Luck.
About Michael Grais
Michael Grais has written and produced movies of domestic and international acclaim including Death Hunt, Poltergeist, Poltergeist II, Marked for Death and Cool World and more.
Michael has also contributed to the book Why We Write and has taught filmmaking at University of New Mexico and in various workshops abroad. After attending New York University’s Film School and Emerson College, he earned his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Oregon. Read more about Michael Grais.
Michael and Jennifer currently live in Northern California with their horse, Solo and two cats Francesca and Finnegan.
For more information about the wild horse issue in America, please read Return to Freedom and Love Wild Horses.
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Thursday, August 6th: Broken Teepee
Monday, August 10th: Gspotsylvania: Musings from a Spotslyvania Dog and Bird mom
Tuesday, August 11th: Velvet Rider
Wednesday, August 12th: The Reading Cove Book Club
Thursday, August 13th: Laura’s Interests
Monday, August 17th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Tuesday, August 18th: Shelf Full of Books
Monday, August 24th: Snowdrop Dreams of Books
Tuesday, August 25th: Reading Lark
Thursday, September 3rd: Lost in a Great Book
We have one copy of Christa's Luck to give away to our readers. This giveaway is open to residents of the US. You must be 13+ years of age to win. If you're under 18, you must have parental permission to enter. Reading Lark is not responsible for lost or damaged packages. The book will be shipped by the authors.
The giveaway runs from August 25 - September 1. Winner will be notified via email on September 2.