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Dark Horses

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  311 ratings  ·  99 reviews
Merritt Wenner has been self-destructing ever since the tragic deaths of her grandmother and her horse. After an epic all-night bender, she walks out of the SAT and disappears. Her parents, looking for a quick fix, ship her off to a residential equine-assisted therapy program.

At Good Fences, Merritt meets Red: a failed racehorse and a terror in the barn. Red has never bond
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 13th 2016 by Soho Teen
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3.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  311 ratings  ·  99 reviews

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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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: twenty-sixteen

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
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
Want to see me talk about books? Check out my Youtube Channel: Bexnbookx

Dark Horses is a strange story about toxic infatuation, however overall an underwhelming reading experience.

Dark Horses surrounds Merritt Wenner who has been self-destructing ever since the death of her grandmother and grandmothers horse. After an all-night bender, she walks out of the SAT's and disappears. Her parents, send her off to a residential equine therapy program Good Fences, and Merritt meets Red.

Red is a failed r
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 09, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Leanne Allan
Apr 22, 2019 rated it did not like it
Wow, was this book bad!

I've never cringed so much in my life. I thought it was supposed to be a horse's point of view, pretty sure it was a jealous 12 year old. How the hell would a horse know about texting or even understand the concept of death and murdering someone. The characters were annoying, whiny and super unrealistic. I did not enjoy this and regret wasting my time reading this monstrosity.
Sep 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition

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!**
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(view spoiler)
Dec 23, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
a Wild Ride
Teenage Reads
Jul 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
Do many song references, I would have to read it multiple times! Definitely willing to reread again.
Heather Warren
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
Sep 13, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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!

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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-bookcase, 2016
Sad ending, but necessary. Loved this book.
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dark Horses
Dark Horses by Cecliy Von Ziegesar is about the deep love and connect with people and animals. A healing heart from a broken heart. The understanding each other from a negative life. This story shows true friendship. Horse and a person sures a bond in this story.
Merritt the person was an alcoholic and ditch school she ended up going to good fences get a room mate and dis liked her so much. The room mate set the barn on fire with her e cigarette. The roommate had a horse name red.
Abigail Earle
hmmm... where to start with this one.... I loved the premise, alternating chapters told from the girl and horses perspectives. I loved the hunter-jumper training scenes and basically anytime Merritt (the main character) would talk about horses. However, it often fell into tired tropes - troubled girl meets horse, suddenly with little training becomes blue ribbon champ in every events she enters, falls in love with a fellow rider and of course, tragedy strikes and she has to deal with it. Except ...more
Nov 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have never read anything but this author, not even the Gossip Girl books that the television series was based after. Which, I did not watch this show when it was on television. What drew me to this book in the first place was the book cover and second the words "Black Beauty". I am a horse fan. It has been long over due since I have read a horse book. Which I found most of the other characters in this book good, it really was the Merritt and Red show. They were the true stars. I loved the alte ...more
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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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