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Dark Horses

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  263 Ratings  ·  91 Reviews
From the internationally bestselling author of Gossip Girl comes a dark, psychologically complex update of Black Beauty replete with jealousy, romance, mystery, and redemption.

Merritt Wenner has been self-destructing ever since the tragic deaths of her grandmother and her horse, and after an epic all-night bender she walks out of the SAT and disappears. Her parents, lookin
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published September 13th 2016 by Soho Teen
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Natalie Monroe
Introducing a brand new game show! Who Said It: Teenage Girl or Horse?

"I thought this girl wanted to make friends, but she'd already changed her mind and started talking trash about me. She was no different than Beatrice. At least I knew her name now: Merritt, like the highway."

"No sleep in Brooklyn!

The boom-boom-clash beat of the classic Beastie Boys' song reverberated through my head."

"I imagined there was gossip about me. I could picture the discussion on a radio call-in show."

"What a
Jen Ryland
On the one hand, this had all the campy, sly observant feel that made me love her Gossip Girl books and characters. On the other, I felt like the book sort of lost its way and jumped the shark at the end, veering into tired YA tropes and bizarreness.

If the idea of a crazy retelling of Black Beauty appeals to you -- a book co-narrated by a (view spoiler) horse and featuring a love rectangle featuring two girls, one guy and a horse -- give this a try.

(view spoi
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
DNFed on paragraph 3

The prologue is in the horse's point of view, and he thinks, I shit you not, "The earth is a just-baked pie left out to cool." Then, in paragraph three, he thinks: "More like, Bye-bye my American pie."

Sep 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016

I just died a little inside!

The story was told from two POV’s, Merritt (a teenage girl with a bad habit) and Red (an ex racehorse with a bad attitude).
I loved seeing things from Red’s POV; he is such a jerk of a horse, it reminded me of a horse I used to own.
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Merritt and Red are both damaged in their own ways and end up at an equine-assisted therapy program. Of course they end up being the perfect match for each other. As the story progresses, Merritt’s and Red’s bond grows and thi
Nemo (The Moonlight Library)

When Merritt walks out of her SATs and goes on a bender, her parents send her to an equine rehabilitation camp called Good Fences where she meets Big Red, a former racing Thoroughbred recovering from injury and with a Big Bad Attitude to match. Red takes a liking to Merritt and claims her as his own, and when the two impress their sponsor and join the professional show circuit, Red won’t let anyone or anything come between him and his human.


I really liked the idea of reading alterativ
Oct 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
The horse girl in me absolutely adored this book. The bookworm in me cringed a bit. This was a love/hate story for me.

Going in to this book I am going to be honest, I had low expectations. This is mainly because as a person who has grown up in horse barns and has been riding since I was really young horse stories, while enjoyable, are so inaccurate. I can't tell you how many times I've read the "damaged girl meets the damaged horse and they bond and she is the only person who can magically ride
Oct 09, 2016 rated it did not like it
Let me be clear: not only did I want to love this book, I EXPECTED to love it. But I think it's my most-loathed book of the year.

And let me count the ways.

- Red is so horribly-written. He's written with a human voice. I expected a peek into the mind of the great beast. Instead he's written like a teenage boy who's also probably a rapist. He quotes song lyrics nonstop (and references myriad other things no horse would have knowledge of), he knows what the Merritt Parkway is offhand for some rea
Jay G
Sep 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my YouTube Channel:

*I received this book as part of Booktube Tours in exchange for my honest review*


Dark Horses is told from two perspectives, Merritt a self destructive teenaged girl and an ex race horse named Red. After the death of her grandmother and horse, Merritt walks out in the middle of her SAT test after a night of drinking. Her parents opt to send her to Good Fen
rachel 007
May 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Oh I so enjoyed this one. It reminded me of a grown up BLACK BEAUTY (which I loved as a kid)--dual POV of Merritt, the sixteen year old girl, and her horse, Red. I didn't love the romance though there was barely ANY which was so refreshing!!!, nor that (view spoiler) (missed opportunity!). I did love Red's point of view, and his mixing up of song lyrics which made me crack up.
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(view spoiler)
Sep 11, 2016 rated it liked it
▷WIN a copy of 'Dark Horses' by Cecily von Ziegesar HERE:
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In the beginning, I was not sure how I would feel about this book. Of course I was excited to read this book because I really enjoy
Jun 20, 2016 rated it liked it
If it hadn't have been for the last 20%, this book would have been a 4-star read for me.

Told from the dual perspectives of Merritt and her horse Red, Dark Horses is a really beautiful story of friendship and growth. Until about 80% through the book when it brings in some apparently obligatory YA tropes that I thought I had escaped. Instalove? Check. Damaged girl who continues to relapse? Check. Absent parents? Check. Though this last one was present throughout the entire book.

Needless to say, I
Stephanie Bain
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing

I adored this book though! It was beautiful, sad and thrilling. I loved the characters even when i didnt. I loved that the love that took over the book was conventional!

I read this as i was listening to a classical music playlist on spotify and oh i highly recommend you try!

*i received this book for free through booktube tours in exchange for an honest review!**
Dec 23, 2016 rated it did not like it
a Wild Ride
Teenage Reads
Jul 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Teenage Girls
Shelves: advance-copy, 2016
There has always been a tie to humans and horses, ever since humanity can remember. From a means of transport, to farm labour, we even rode them into battles during wars. According to history, therapeutic benefits of horses were recognized around the 1870’s in Europe. The goal of these residential equine therapy program is not about riding your horse, but taking care of it, forming an unbreakable bond between you and him, until maybe both of you get better. That was the motto of Good Fences, one ...more
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely devoured this book!! The premise of this story is what made me want to pick it up. A teenage girl named Merritt finds herself spiraling out of control after going through some traumatic times in her life. In order to get back on track, her parents send her to an equine-based therapy rehab center where each girl is paired with a horse to take care of. Merritt is paired with a crazy horse named Red who is surprised to find himself actually caring about Merritt and wanting her to love ...more
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Do many song references, I would have to read it multiple times! Definitely willing to reread again.
Heather Warren
Sep 16, 2016 rated it liked it
My favorite part of this book is the time and thought and energy that went into developing the relationship between Merritt and Red. Reading from Red's perspective felt so natural and believable. I loved Red as a character. If you love horses and have an interest in horse shows and riding technique, you may really enjoy this book as the parts in the book about the competitions are written from a background in horse shows. They are detailed and written in a way that I could understand, as I have ...more
Keanna (KeyReadThat)
Here's my video review:

The Why: Like people, animals have an attachment, something that's untouchable to others. It was written in a way that you could clearly distinguish the bond between Merritt and Red.

Merritt self destructed after her grandmother died and is sent to a equestrian therapy program. There she learns everyone is paired up with a rescue horse and she has the grand privilege of riding him. Merritt needed to heal and with the help
J'ai vraiment adoré cette lecture et le fait de me retrouver plongé dans l'univers hippique, c'est un gros plus pour moi. Des romans avec un univers équestre, c'est encore malheureusement assez rare à mon goût.
J'ai bien aimé que l'histoire se déroule avec deux points de vue différents qui sont Merritt et Red, son cheval. L'intrigue est bonne et nous tient jusqu'à la fin du roman. Par contre, certains personnages sont légèrement pénibles et par moment, j'ai eu du mal à comprendre les réactions de
Sep 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
*3.5 Stars*
Having loved and had horses for most of my life I enjoyed reading a book where one of the POV's was told from a horse's perspective. I appreciated that the author's knowledge of horses and of the show jumping world was authentic. I also liked the initial bond between Merritt and Red as they were both equally damaged but accepted each other regardless. I completely believe in the powerful bond between and girl and her horse but this book took this to the extreme. Even though it felt ov
Sep 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
If you're into a Black Beauty/Gossip Girl sort of mix, this novel may well be your cup of tea. I found it compelling enough to keep turning pages, even though I wasn't overly fond of either Merritt or Red.
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
I'm always super skeptical of horse books, and books like this are the reason why.
Trish at Between My Lines
Black Beauty meets Gossip Girls meets I-don't-even-know-what.

This sounds too bizarre for words. So obviously I need it!
Dec 10, 2016 rated it did not like it

I think if the whole book would have been from Red's PoV I could have managed it, but Merritt was just awful.

Dec 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-bookcase, 2016
Sad ending, but necessary. Loved this book.
May 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Merritt steckt nach dem Tod ihrer Großmutter in einer Kriese, nach einem weiteren Aussetzer ihrerseits entschließen ihre Eltern sich dazu, sie in ein Erziehungsheim zu stecken - Good Fences.
In Good Fences wird ihr ein Pferd zur Seite gestellt, ausgerechnet Red ein Pferd das seine ganz eigenen Probleme hat und bisher keinen Menschen an sich rangelassen hat.
Doch bei Merritt scheint etwas anders zu sein, denn er will ihr vertrauen und ihre Liebe, die beiden werden ein Spitzenteam und Merritt befind
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Tout d’abord, j’avais beaucoup d’appréhension concernant cette lecture ne sachant pas qu’en penser ayant entendu de bonnes critiques le concernant mais le résumé me semblait banal, peu original… J’ai eu très peur de tomber dans le cliché lu dans des dizaines de romans et vu dans des dizaines de film. Le cheval fougueux et la cavalière qui elle seule peut l’approcher et le monter, il y a pas plus cliché concernant une histoire sur les chevaux. D’ailleurs, il m’a fallu un petit quart de roman pour ...more
Sarah Monreau
Die Geschichte um Merritt und Red begann direkt ansprechend. Merritt ist ein schwieriges Mädchen und kommt in ein Heim für solche Teenager. Dort gibt es auch schwierige Pferde, wodurch sie eben Red kennenlernt, einen störrischen Hengst. Er beginnt ihr zu vertrauen und so entsteht eine Freundschaft zwischen den beiden, die sie weit bringt. Doch dann beginnt Red Dinge zu tun, um Merritt für sich zu haben, die alles aus dem Ruder bringen.
Letztendlich verläuft die Geschichte aber nicht deswegen so,
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
It's been a long time since I picked up a book that focused on the intricate bond that most young girls want to have with a horse. I used to be obsessed with all things horse related and by virtue have never been disappointed by a book that focuses on something that I so badly crave. But I guess there's a first for everything.

Dark Horses is a story about a girl who get's thrown into a equine therapy program after suffering the loss of her Grandma and her horse Noble. There she runs int
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Cecily grew up in Manhattan and went to an all-girl's school on the Upper East Side.
She resides in Brooklyn with her husband Richard, the Deputy Director of the Public Art Fund, their children, Agnes and Oscar, and their two Cornish Rex cats. Von Ziegesar also owns an Appaloosa horse, Golden Rain. She is dreams of having a 'ranch full of cattle' when retired.

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