Bull Rider
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Bull Rider

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  388 ratings  ·  103 reviews
All it takes is eight seconds....

Cam O'Mara, grandson and younger brother of bull- riding champions, is not interested in partaking in the family sport. Cam is a skateboarder, and perfecting his tricks -- frontside flips, 360s -- means everything until his older brother, Ben, comes home from Iraq, paralyzed from a brain injury.

What would make a skateboarder take a di...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published February 24th 2009 by Margaret K. McElderry Books (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 691)
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Paul
Cam O'Mara, grandson and younger brother of bull riding champions, is not interested in carrying out the family name in bull riding. He is rather more interested in skateboarding and perfecting his tricks. But all of that will change when his older brother Ben decides to trade in his cowboy hat for a helmet and a rifle and goes to war.

Cam gets terrible news about Ben and he is coming home from the war early. Cam believes that Ben is not hurt too bad and he will be fine and soon hopes to see hi...more
Jacqueline Garlick
Fabulous book. Fabulous topic. Daring exploration of human condition. An extremely well-written, heart-tugging tale. Smiles.
Terry
When you've read a lot of YA, it can be hard to review a book like "Bull Rider." Some kids will really like this one. The rural setting, the skateboarding, and the consequences of war will go over well with a certain type of reader. The language and content is squeaky clean, yet the conflicts are real and effective, so middle school or high school readers could get something out of it. Our narrator's voice is clear and honest. As a resident of Nevada, I really appreciated Williams' attention to...more
Frezanda
This book introduces me to Bull Riding. Same as Cam, I also first thought that only crazy adrenaline junkie will do this kind of sport. I realy love the details about bull riding, ranch living, cowboy, and also war through the yes of ordinary people. We saw war news everyday on TV. It seems faraway and disconnected with our life. Sometimes it's also easy to just point finger at USA to blame for meddling and starting the Iraq war....However when you become a witness, soldier or the family of the...more
Katy Jane
1. I could completely see the settings in my head. They were so vivid and real.
2. The characters became people I knew and Cam's friends and family were my friends and family. They were believable and lovable.
3. I cried when the neighbors and friends helped build Ben's room. The camaraderie of the community was so beautiful to me.
4. This is my second book I've read about bull riding and it's becoming a very interesting subject to me.
5. Lali dressing her goat up was so cute and funny.
6. Speakin...more
Kari
The Short Version:
Realistic and holding strong tones of family bonds, Bull Rider easily straddles the line between younger and older YA. Centered around a fourteen year old boy, it reads in an easy way for a younger crowd while still holding all the emotions of an older one. Blending light and deep, and using bull riding and skateboarding to bring the characters to life, Bull Rider makes for a quick but memorable read.

The Extended Version:
Cam is a very easy character to like, loyal to his family...more
J.
This book is not something I would typically read because, I'll confess, I am not a lover of anything rodeo, but I was interested in reading it because it looked like something fresh and different from the usual book for middle grade students.

I really enjoyed reading it because of Cam's perspective. His emotions were portrayed perfectly for a boy of his age, realistically mixing his worry for his brother with his worry for himself. He has to overcome living in the shadow of his semi-famous famil...more
Joanna Marple
For ages 10-14, though I believe this is a book that will be appreciated by many adults. Paradoxically this is a book full of teenage action (from skateboarding to the bull ring) and yet it is a book that makes you want to pause frequently and listen to the deeper message. It opens up the small-town world and the relationship of two Nevada brothers. Cam, the adolescent skateboarder, has always left the family bull-riding tradition to others braver or more foolish than he, and Ben, a marine, retu...more
Travis
Bull rideris an amizing book .Yhere are parts in that book that will put you on the edge of your seat . There are parts in the book that will make you cry and feel sad.The main cerictors ate the o'maras 1st Cam 2nd Ben 3rd Dad 4th Mom 5th grandma Gean 6th grampa .There family live on a ranch in salt lick. The auther Suzanne morgan williams lets the omaras speak their piece on war and sacrifive,family,loyalty and courage.they reveal what it means to live in the hart of modern west. There are alou...more
Elise (Bookish Delights)
Powerful. Poignant. Uplifting. Emotional. Beautiful. Told with authenticity and sincerity, Bull Rider makes a very bold statement that will last much longer than the requisite eight seconds in bull riding. Suzanne Morgan Williams is truly a masterful storyteller when it comes to understanding and capturing the dynamics of a family, especially when faced with hardships. Never taking away from the honor, dignity, and bravery of serving one’s country, Bull Rider provides a touching and impeccably r...more
Lindsay Paige
Dec 11, 2010 Lindsay Paige rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for a good read
The book is told through Cam O’Mara (I love that last name). Cam is a fifteen year old boy born into a bull riding family. Grandpa Roy rode, Dad wrote, and his brother Ben rode. Cam has no interest in bull riding; he’ll leave that for his brother. But Ben is in the Marines and he gets injured. That’s when everything changes.

Cam loves to skateboard with his friend Mike, but with news of his brother, Cam doesn’t know what to think. Cam loves Ben and you can easily tell. He’s worried about him, con...more
Kay Mcgriff
Cam O’Mara comes from a long line of bull riders: older brother, father, grandfather. But he took a good look at the bucking bulls and decided he’d rather get his thrills from perfecting his skateboard tricks. Then his older brother Ben comes home from Iraq after running into an improvised explosive device. Ben is missing part of his arm and struggling with traumatic brain injury. Cam is shocked by the changes in the older brother he always looked up to. Now Cam is looking for a way to bring bac...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

BULL RIDER by Class of 2K9 author Suzanne Morgan Williams offers a unique combination of topics - rodeo bull riding and the Iraq War.

Young Cam O'Mara comes from a ranching, bull riding family, but his interest leans more toward skateboarding. Bull riding has never really held any attraction for him, at least until now.

The O'Mara family gets the dreaded news that their oldest son, Ben, has been wounded while fighting in Iraq - and li...more
Andrew
This is another of the Missouri Truman Award Nominees from the 2011-12 school year. The story is told from the point of view of Cam. Cam's brother, Ben, has just returned from the war in Iraq, and he is suffering from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and has lost part of his arm. Ben was once a great bull rider. Now he is just an injured soldier who is nothing like his formal self. Cam struggles with many parts of Ben's return.

I liked the way the author brought up the topic of TBI. This is one of...more
Sarah
May 05, 2009 Sarah rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: grades 7-9
Recommended to Sarah by: 7/8 list
Skateboarding is Cam’s passion; on the other hand, bull riding is his family’s passion (well, everyone except his mom). Cam’s grandpa, father, and older brother have all won awards for their bull riding abilities, but Cam wants nothing to do with it…that is, until his brother Ben returns from the Iraq war with a severe head injury and an amputated arm, no longer able to ride a bull.

Ben’s recovery is slow-going but the family tries to keep a positive attitude. However, as Ben’s progress slows, Be...more
Rachel
4.5 Stars

Cam O'Mara's family has a history of bull riding, but he thinks you would have to be crazy to get on one of those animals and prefers to stay on his skate board. But when his brother, Ben, returns home from Iraq, injured from an IED, Cam would do anything for him. Even if it means getting on the one bull no one has riden and fifteen thousand dollars being offered to the first one who can stay on for a full 8 seconds.

When I saw the cover, I was intreged. When I heard what it was about,...more
Heather Crozier
I put this book on the bottom of my to-read pile thinking I had no interest in a book about bull riding, and it turned out to be a tear jerker...

Bull Rider is the story of Cam O’Mara, a 14 year old boy with a passion for skateboarding. Cam’s older brother, Ben, a former champion bull rider, is injured in Iraq and comes home with Traumatic Brain Injury, along with other severe injuries. In an attempt to cheer up Ben, Cam rides his first bull and discovers that he loves it. Mrs. O’Mara forbids him...more
Megan
I did wonder, initially, how I was going to connect with this book - not knowing anything about Bull Riding, or caring much about Skate Boarding, and not coming from Nevada, or even the United States. However, I do know 14 year old boys, and however much they try to hide it with grunts and bad haircuts, there are sensitive hearts and undeveloped amygdalas making their lives very confusing and difficult to navigate. Especially when other family stuff is going on - and other stuff is often going o...more
Michael
The bull rider is an amazing book that tells a lot about change through situations and how can the main character of the book shows his own personality in what he does. From the start of the book you can tell cam is a character of his own , he doesn't wanna be like the rest of his family not because he hates the family business ( bull riding ) but because he wants to be his own person. Through the story the author makes it clear of what environment can and his family are in and kind of pits us a...more
Kylia

Cam O'Mara, a fourteen year old boy, and his family go through a traumatic crisis that will change their lives forever. The book “Bull Rider,” by Suzanne Morgan Williams, talks about a boy named Cam who loves to skateboard. But, it's in his blood to Bull Ride. Cam and his family live in a small town called Salt Lick City on a ranch where a huge pile of salt stands. People use the salt and their told it will give them good luck. But, then Cam's mom overuses the salt and bad things begin to happe...more
Barbara
Cam O’Mara likes to skateboard with his best friend, Mike Gianni. But there is a family legacy of champion bull riders; his grandpa Roy and his big brother Ben were both championship bull riders. When Ben goes back to Iraq for the last three months of his tour after his leave from the marines, he is severely injured by an IED, improvised explosive device. Cam has a difficult time dealing with his brother’s injuries which include paralysis from traumatic brain injury and the loss of his left hand...more
Erin Forson
Bull Rider
by Suzanne Morgan Williams
Before I tell you about this book, let me hit you with some numbers. There have been 5,308 American soldiers killed in the war in Iraq and Afghanastan (see pictures here) http://projects.washingtonpost.com/fa.... Literally hundreds of those who have died were teenagers. That means that you would have to empty New Caney High School 2 and ½ times to equal the number of American casualties from the war. Can you see all of those people in one place? There have be...more
Michelle
In the small town of Salt Lick, Nevada Cam O'Mara knows how to do two things real well. One is how to work cows on his family's ranch and the other is skateboarding. Which is a bit unusual since everyone in Salt Like knows that the O'Mara family is famous for turning out champion bull riders like Cam's Grandpa Roy and his older brother, Ben. But skateboarding is Cam's passion and nothing can change that. That is until his larger-than-life older brother returns home from his tour in Iraq with sev...more
Eden
I meant to just start the book, go to church, and finish it this afternoon. Instead, I kept reading and missed church. I was aware of the number of brain injuries coming out of this war. I’m personally aware of how difficult it is to rebuild any life after any type of brain injury. I know how much motivation plays a role in any recovery. I’m aware of some of the stress on military families and its effects on younger siblings. Bull Riding and Ranching are new to me. Suzanne Morgan Williams put al...more
J-Lynn
As a city girl, I had trouble grasping the rural pride that the main characters cherish. But, I liked the insight into ranching and bull riding (although the main character's affinity for bull riding seemed convenient and the connection to skateboarding that was used to explain it seemed forced). The main characters voice is generic, but well-written.


The plotline about how returning disabled veterans effect the entire family is worth telling. Ben's Traumatic Brain Injury and amputated arm are j...more
Mercedes
When I started reading this book I was expecting to be thrown into a world of adrenaline and fear. I was met with very little of either.
In fact I found this book quite boring. The plot was ok enough but I was alittle to slow for my liking, I think it would have been better if it moved on and didn't linger on EVERY SINGLE drama in young Cam's life. He was almost angesting through the entire thing. Everything Cam did resulted in some type of trouble and you couldn't help yelling at the book for...more
Handd51
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan
This is the second injured Iraq war relative book I have read for NYRA Intermediate 2011. The author seems to get inside the thoughts of a teenage, rural skateboarding younger brother, and it does take place in Nevada so that has some merit for NYRA. Being from Las Vegas, I too don't know first-hand the rural lifestyle but I could follow the story. It was interesting to get into this world of chores, cowboys, and dealing with a suddenly disabled family member and how that effects the entire fami...more
Sandra Stiles
Cam O'Mare loves riding his skateboard. His brother Ben is a champion bull rider. As Ben waits to return to Iraq as a marine he tries to convince his little brother to start bull riding. The first time Cam rides a bull it is because his brother's friend called him a little girl. The thrill he felt on that first short ride hooked Cam. When Cam's brother is severly injured in Iraq, Cam uses the bull riding to deal with his own emotions. It is bull riding he uses to force his brother to not give up...more
Caroline
One of the only books I've read for kids that deals with the war in Iraq and the devastating impact the return of a wounded soldier can have on a family. An important topic explored in a mediocre book...
Cam O'Mara lives in a small town in Nevada and spends his time helping out on the family ranch and skateboarding. When his older brother returns home from fighting in the Iraq war badly injured, Cam becomes drawn to bull riding. Cams confusion over his feelings towards his brother and the war are...more
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Suzanne Morgan Williams is author of Bull Rider, a new novel for kids aged 10 and up, and many non-fiction books for children. Bull Rider is a Junior Library Guild Selection and represented Nevada at the National Book Festival in Washington D.C. It is the story of a 14 year old Nevada ranch kid who, when his champion bull rider brother comes home from the war in Iraq with life changing injuries, t...more
More about Suzanne Morgan Williams...
Chinook Indians Powhatan Indians Kentucky Tlingit Indians (Native Americans) Nevada (From Sea to Shining Sea)

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