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On A Good Horse

4.48  ·  Rating details ·  25 ratings  ·  22 reviews
"Easier to carry the bad when you’re mounted on a good horse."

Alex Nash dreams of being a soccer star. Or a graphic artist. Maybe both. But being a cowboy? Nope and no way. Not if it means being anything like his seldom seen father.

Then, out of nowhere, tragedy shatters Alex’s world, and when he thinks life couldn’t sucker-punch him again, it does. He’s forced to live with
Published November 10th 2020 by Owl Hollow Press
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Darby Karchut Yes, indeed! My first contemporary MG book! It explores family ties, both old and new, the healing power of nature, and why the old saying is true: th…moreYes, indeed! My first contemporary MG book! It explores family ties, both old and new, the healing power of nature, and why the old saying is true: there's nothing so good for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse. (less)

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Clare O'Beara
This story of a broken family shows how little control young people have over their lives - just about none. A lad is packed off to Colorado where his absent father lives, and a lively horse awaits him as well as a somewhat awkward relationship with his horse shoer dad.

I enjoyed the story and now and then we get to see it from the sorrel horse's point of view, snakes, floods and all. Good for boys and girls from eleven to fifteen, I suggest. Have fun.
I downloaded an e-ARC from Fresh Fiction an
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, animal-story
On A Good Horse is told in the dual perspective of Alex mixed in with chapters that feature the internal dialogue of Rio. Rio is sympathetic to Alex's grief and always expresses a desire in wanting to help him overcome his sadness. Rio's also the first to recognize that Alex and his father need to mend their relationship. He's sort of a link between the two where they can share information and Alex can become more "horse savvy." For Rio he just wants to ride fast across the open range and share ...more
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was given a copy of this title. All opinions are my own.

This is a middle grade contemporary about a young boy who is grieving for his mom while reconnecting with the father who left them when he was younger.

I'm going to be honest, this is my third attempt at writing this review. I am not sure if I have words that will do this book justice. I cannot even remind people of Karchut's previous works, because this is her first foray into contemporary. And about that, I am not disappointed at all.
Kelly Hager
Oct 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There aren't any words for how much I enjoyed this book. It's really funny, which is good because it also deals with a boy who's lost his mom and who is basically building a relationship with his dad from scratch. It's not like they'd never met, but the divorce was acrimonious and they didn't see each other very often.

This is Darby's contemporary middlegrade debut, and it's amazing. As anyone who reads her books can attest, one of her very real strengths is writing great father-son relationship
Ms. Yingling
Nov 19, 2020 rated it liked it
E ARC provided by Netgalley

After his mother's death, Alex has to go and live with his father, with whom he has not had much contact. He warms up a bit when he is encouraged to learn to ride and has a horse under his care. I loved the Western, farm setting, and Alex's character development. I'm never a fan of stories told from an animal's perspective, so the chapters not written from Alex's view point were not my favorite. My readers don't ask for horse books often, although I like to keep a good
Beverly McClure
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is not a review, but it sure makes you want to read the novel. At least it did me. Review comeing after I've read it.

“A richly drawn and deeply felt story of familial bonds, and how they change and evolve over time, sometimes with the help of a spirited steed.” —Kurt Kirchmeier, The Absence of Sparrows

A boy and horse could outrun all the sadness of this flat world. If the boy believed, and the horse was swift. The sorrel knew he was fast enough to help the boy. He just needed open grasslan
Paperback to Hardback
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A heartwarming and emotional story, we follow a young boy who is dealing with a tragic loss and goes to stay with his father for the summer. During this summer the boy builds a connection with a horse that his father gifted to him. I really enjoyed the story itself and found it was quite relatable at parts in regards to the loss. It was interesting to see that one of the POV's which was more of a side POV was in the view of the boy's horse.

It is definitely a middle grade book but I feel like it
May 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had the good fortune of being able to read an advance copy of this book. The emotion and the characterization felt spot-on from beginning to end, and the chapters told from the point of view of a horse named Red were a really nice touch. All in all, a richly drawn and deeply felt story of familial bonds, and how they change and evolve over time, sometimes with the help of a spirited steed.
Feb 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing


In general, this was an emotionally beautiful story about a father-son relationship which I liked a lot.
The author did a beautiful job in writing the story. It is never easy changing your life unexpectedly and adjusting to new situations. To that end, the author nicely writes about how Alex adjusts to his new life with his father and develops a bond with the horses.

Also, the author’s strength is in developing the relationship
Erin *BookDragonLibrary*
5 enormous stars!
I first discovered Darby Karchut's writing with her fantasy middle grade "Del Toro Moon" which I recommend to absolutely every kid who comes my way in the library looking for adventure, fantasy, a little bit of spookiness, sassy characters, horses, and just plain fun.
"On a Good Horse" is Karchut's debut contemporary middle grade novel and it does not disappoint! She has such a strength at writing father-son relationships (the family dynamic in Del Toro Moon is one of my favor
Lisa Nocita
Nov 14, 2020 rated it liked it
#OnaGoodHorse #NetGalley
Thank you to NetGalley for the advance copy.

On a Good Horse is firmly a middle grade novel about a young boy who suddenly finds himself living with his estranged father after his mother unexpectedly passes away. Forced to relocate for the summer to a small town in Colorado where his father lives, Alex contends with his grief and anger with the help of a spunky horse named Rio. The summer brings tribulations but also celebrations and a mature awareness that life’s unexpec
Nov 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
On a Good Horse tell the story of Alex, a city kid who visits his estranged dad's ranch after his mother passes away. Alex is resistant from the get-go. Ranch life is foreign to him, and along with the grief of his loss, navigating a relationship with his father is not on the top of his list. As Alex begins to acclimate to the ways of the vaquero, he develops a strong relationship with Rio, the horse his father gifts to him. Rob Nash is definitely a flawed man. He left Alex and his mother when A ...more
Nov 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a fun, clean and sweet read!
I've never read a horse story quite like this one. I did love it because I love horses and I feel that I've come to know this one very well.
I also can't image falling asleep in the saddle. I think I'd be afraid I'd fall off and get trampled on. But good ol Rio. He's such a sweet horse.
I envied Alex in a way. He had it all and didn't even realize it. Even tho he's a great kid and all.
This new to me author is great! I liked how she pulled me right into Alex and Ri
Dec 04, 2020 rated it liked it
There aren't many contemporary horsey books about boys, making On a Good Horse something of a standout in the genre. Alex Nash is forced to spend the summer with his estranged father following the sudden and unexpected death of his mother while his aunt and uncle, who wish to be Alex's guardians, wrestle with the court system. Alex, who has been raised on stories of his father rooted in his mother and mother's family antipathy for him, expects nothing good to come of the experience. Over time he ...more
Colette Sewall
Nov 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a sweet, heartwarming book! I thoroughly enjoyed this emotional story about an estranged father reuniting with his young son, Alex. Years after a difficult divorce, it seems as if nothing can bridge the wide gap between them until the father presents Alex with a horse named Rio. As a big time animal lover, I couldn’t help but fall in love with Rio and the unique chapters written from his perspective.

Sometimes it takes an intuitive, kind animal to help those suffering with emotional pain, a
Denise Forrest
Nov 28, 2020 rated it liked it
When Alex’s mum dies, he has to go & live with his dad, who he’s rarely seen since they divorced when he was 3 years old. Life for Alex couldn’t be more different, living with Rob Nash, horse shoer. Now in cowboy country, life revolves around horses, including Rio, the half Arab gelding dad has bought for him.

This is a good, but somewhat straightforward story of how Alex grows to love Rio, his dad and life in the wild west. Although the story kept my interest, there was little of the sorrow and
Nick Garlick
Nov 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a lovely book. This story about a young boy having to live with a father he’s rarely seen and doesn’t like is one of those tales that grow on you. I kept telling myself I’d stop at a particular page, only to find myself deciding to go for just one more chapter. That then turned into two and three and four. It’s *very* easy to read. Favourite chapters: father teaching his son to ride; the flash flood; events seen from the horse’s point of view.

And the ending is just perfect!
Fleur Bradley
Dec 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've been a fan of Darby Karchut's work for some time now--she just really gets that middle-grade/kid audience in a unique way. On a Good Horse really shows that talent, with the story of a boy, a horse, and how to overcome the toughest loss.

This story isn't all sadness though: Karchut knows how to blend humor, heart, and a little bit of Western flair. Highly recommended.
Debbie Tanner
This story is about Alex who is coming to terms with the death of his mother. He goes to live with his dad, who he barely knows. His dad shoes horses and expects Alex to help him out. He also buys Alex a horse and hopes that Alex will enjoy the horse as much as he does. The horse also tells part of the story and I loved that part.
Kelsey Bollinger
Oct 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh my horse loving heart loved this book so much! While this book may be geared towards a middle grade audience, any age will love this story of a boy and his horse learning to heal. While I loved the chapters from Alex's point of view, I absolutely adored the chapters from Rio's point of view.

Death of a parent is a main theme in this book but is done in such an amazing way. After the death of his mom, Alex is sent to spend the summer with his estranged dad in Colorado. Alex's path to healing i
Darby Karchut
Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
My first contemporary MG (I usually write fantasy). I had such a blast with this new sandbox!
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Young readers book. Really enjoyed, takes place in Colorado.
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Darby Karchut is an award-winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter. A native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms. When not dodging death by Colorado, Darby is busy wrangling words.
Her upcoming book, ON A GOOD HORSE, releases November 2020. Her other middle grade books include DEL TORO MOON (Colo

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