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Another Kind of Cowboy

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  588 Ratings  ·  92 Reviews
Alex Ford wishes his father had seen the movie Brokeback Mountain. Because then he might understand that it’s possible to be a gay cowboy. Trouble is, Alex doesn’t even want to be a cowboy; his dream is to ditch Western-style riding and take up dressage. But with his mother long gone, his father ensconced in an RV in the driveway, his messy Aunt Grace the Hair Stylist inst ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published 2007 by HarperCollins Canada
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Rating details
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Dana Kenedy (Dana and the Books)
Nov 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: horse people and humour fans
Shelves: humour, young-adult
Review from March 2016:
During high school, I was part of the region wide book club that would read 10 new YA books by Canadian authors every year. Out of the many books that I read, Another Kind of Cowboy is definitely the most memorable (an accomplishment since I read this almost 10 years ago). The wittiness stands out most, and I think it may be deserving of a reread soon!

Original Review from Nov 2007
I loved this book. The characters were well developed and the plot was really fun. A lot of pe
Jan 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Alex was a bit of an odd kid. He rode his bike around his home of Vancouver Island, pretending it was a horse. Things got even stranger when he saw dressage for the first time on television. He was obsessed, but somehow knew that boys weren't supposed to like dressage.

He was surprised one day when his father gave him a horse that he had won in a gambling situation. Alex loves Turnip and takes great care of him. He gets a riding coach, and trains as much as he can. But he can still never let go o
Mar 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
I liked this book. It is another piece of literature that includes a GLBT character. I would not hesitate to recommend it not just a GLBT teen but to any teen. Though it contains drinking and drug use by both adults and teens, it is a cautionary tale in that regard. The character involved figures it out and has redeeming qualities. There really is no objectionable language and only some harmless kissing in the "sex" area. It would be appropriate for all grade levels. It is a coming-of-age tale o ...more
Jan 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've had very, very bad experiences with a lot of queer-themed YA lit, and with YA stories about young women with gay friends -- at least one group of characters, either the women or the gay males, end up as caricatures. So I was pretty cautious going into this book. I am pleased to say that I thoroughly underestimated it.

The characters, first of all, were lovely -- Juby manages to walk the fine line of over-the-top ~characters~ without ever completely going overboard into cardboard. Alex and Cl
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky" for

Cleo O'Shea rides horses. Her wealthy parents work in the movie business and have raised Cleo through a series of housekeepers, drivers, and other assorted caretakers. When Cleo's poor choices lead her into troubled times, they decide to enroll her in a boarding school on Vancouver Island.

An early interest in horses prompted Cleo's mother to enroll her in riding classes. In keeping with this interest, Cleo finds herself at Stonele
Reader Rabbit
May 26, 2009 rated it liked it
One of the first authors that springs to mind when I think Canadian YA lit is Susan Juby. Her first book, Alice, I Think featuring the amazingly quirky and amusing adventures of a girl named Alice was a hit inside Canada and outside of it (giveaway of the second book of the series here). In fact the main character is so bizarre, that whether you loved her, hated her or questioned her sanity, you most definitely couldn't forget her. It was refreshing to read about a character who didn't try to fi ...more
Sep 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-lgbt, ya-read
Susan Juby has a wonderful writing style, develops an interesting plot line around the subject of show horses, and managed to create a heartwarming gay character as well as a typical female teenage angst character who does not make you want to vomit! I truly enjoyed this book.

Alex Ford has what he considers a truly dysfunctional family, but learns, as he comes into his own while pursuing the fine art and horsemanship form of dressage, that maybe the family has certain redeeming qualities. Betwee
May 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youngadult
This book turned out a bit differently than I'd thought. It's about a young boy from a poor family who has always wanted a horse, not so he can be a cowboy, but so he can learn to ride English dressage. Meanwhile, his foil is a girl from a privileged family who is being punished for a rather large misdeed by having to go to boarding school and learn dressage (she is afraid of horses). There was loads of fun information about dressage, and the family dynamics on both sides were real and interesti ...more
Jennifer Thorne
Jun 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes YA and sarcasm.
Shelves: favorites
This is a sweet, innocent story that very peripherally deals with some very deep, disturbing topics. I like the way the author deals with the different voices of the two main characters by giving them different depths of perspective- Cleo is first person and Alex is a slightly distant third. At times sad, and at others dry, witty and laugh-out-loud-worthy. You don't have to be a (former) horse-mad kid to enjoy this story (although, if you've had experience with horses it will add just that filli ...more
This book is super amazing! I still can't believe you can take this average setting - kind of nowheresville bc - and make the revelations about life and relationships and being yourself so relevant and heartbreaking. This book is cool and contemporary, and makes me laugh (and sometimes breaks my heart) the whole way through.
Aug 15, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm not really a fan of alternating character pov but this one worked pretty well. Alex is a great kid who is dealing with both coming out and horse problems. His Turnip sounds like such a sweet horse and it also quite realistic. I wasn't as fond of Cleo's story but there is some growth there.
Apr 20, 2013 rated it liked it
I did enjoy this book, but perhaps it just wasn't the sort of book for me. The characters were interesting enough, especially our lead male. I enjoyed reading about the horses and the training bits, because they were knowledgable and interesting to learn about. In fact, they made me want to get on a horse and try to learn something. However, I just wasn't getting as invested in the story line as I hoped that I'd be, and this had nothing to do with the writing.

Ever since he was a small child, Al
Dec 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Horse lovers
Recommended to Faith by: My Mother's Friend

Actual Rating: 2.5 Stars

I thought this book was decent. The author touches on some of the problems that teens deal with today: coming out, over-drinking, absent parents, and people who don't seem to care about anything. Juby tells the story of Alex, a guy who is gay but hasn't come out to anyone and Cleo, a rich chick who hangs around with the wrong crowd. The author writes about their problems while focusing on the sport of dressage, which brings the 2 characters together ta
Elisa Rolle
I read somewhere that the author started to plan this book as the story of Cleo, the spoiled daughter of absentee parents who is living in a boarding school, and she ended to write about Alex, a gay teenager living in a small town where they barely know what riding is, let aside what dressage means. And sincerely it’s clear that, while Cleo is a nice supporting character, Alex is the real life of this story.

Alex’s passion for riding, and dressage, is almost an obsession; and if you read between
Aug 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, glbt
Original post at The Little Bookworm

Alex is gay and he knows this but no one else does. Alex loves horses and he is good with them and has a lot of natural talent. He rides Western-style to please his father but really wants to ride dressage, loving the precision and style of it. Alex is afraid to tell his father about both his sexuality and the dressage. He is a very introverted boy, afraid of doing the wrong thing, that people will think the wrong thing about him. His family is very dysfuncti
Aug 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt-literature
Juby, Susan / Another kind of cowboy
Harper Teen, 2007

First off, this book is so funny; I could not believe how many times I caught myself having to stop reading and laugh out loud.

The story is told by its two main characters: Alex Ford and Cleo O’Shea.
Alex is hard-working, dedicated to his goals. He dreams about horses, when he was six years old he used to ride his bike around the yard imagining that it was a horse. When he was eleven his dad buys him his first horse – Turnip - his mom runs away
Jul 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-fiction
Though this book will appeal to horse lovers, this isn’t the typical genre horse story. Alex Ford has been fascinated with the art of Dressage ever since he watched the black-capped riders and their high-stepping horses on TV. But his alcoholic father encourages Alex to ride in the western show circuit, and the family’s finances could never support such an expensive hobby anyway; Alex believes his dream of competing in Dressage is just that—a dream. But when a chance meeting with a Dressage trai ...more
Sep 06, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alex has always loved horses. When Alex was six, he had a horse named Del Magnifico le Noir, except it wasn’t exactly a horse, but more of a bicycle that Alex pretended was a horse, he had reins and everything! Alex also falls in love with the riding style of dressage at an early age. He never thought in a million years that his father would win him a horse playing poker. From there on out is was Turnip and Alex. Alex loved riding Turnip and winning shows riding western style, but his true love ...more
Rebecca A
Once again I was searching for some fiction dealing with the LGBT community and this is one of the four books that came up.

This book is about horses, that's something that should be said from the get go, but the equine terms that are used are always defined or you can define them yourself by inference.

Just like the book I read before this, Of All the Stupid Things, this isn't a book focused on the "coming out" and battles that come along with it. It's about learning how to make friends and app
Delightful read, written with wry humour and full of depth. I love the combination of two of my favourite genres: young adult and horses! On top of that, the book features complex queer and female characters. The dual character voices of Alex and Cleo are glorious and unique. I thought that the third person and first person pov suited Alex and Cleo's personalities respectively (Alex's quiet, socially anxious, distant personality, Cleo's effervescent self-centredness).

oh Cleo I ADORE Cleo. She i
Mary Pagones
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another Kind of Cowboy has a broad, comic style that is very different from the typical horse book. Of course, most horse books have humor but this is definitely a comic novel, not a horse book where comedy occasionally 'happens.' At first, I found myself muttering "I'm not sure I believe this" but then as a reader I realized I just had to relax and go with the flow. Kind of like dressage, I guess. It's very funny and just an enjoyable read.

I admit I had some reservations with the alternating th
Feb 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommend to any fans of Susan Juby, teens and/or fans of equestrian activities.

A wonderful novel told from the perspective of two people: Cleo, a spoiled rich girl who has been sent to private school in Canada after some questionable behaviour; and Alex, a boy from a dysfunctional family who who dreams of being a dressage rider. While many parts are predictable, Juby's writing is (as always) humourous and entertaining. Alex's family is filled with memorable characters from
Jun 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: high school and up
Here is a one-of-a-kind horse story that alternates narrators. Alex is a teen who has worked hard for his status in the riding world, and isn't sure what to do with his leanings toward the precise, not-very-masculine art of dressage riding, nor his growing feelings that he's gay, nor his father's increasing distance and alcoholism. Cleo is a rich, spoiled girl who is sent to boarding school in Alex's town, supposedly to become a better rider, but mostly to ensure that she doesn't get into any mo ...more
Alex and Cleo, a spoiled richie from LA, meet in the world of dressage. (It's a very disciplined yet artful school of horse training, pronounced so the second syllable sounds like corsage—although throughout the book my head kept hearing the "age" part like you would say it in footage.) Cleo's movie producer parents have banished her to a fancy riding school on Vancouver Island, and Alex is a poor local cowboy who really wants to dance with his horse. Though their stories (Alex's, especially) ar ...more
Mar 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
Two teenagers - a closeted gay boy and a poor little rich girl - form a prickly friendship after they meet at dressage lessons.

The premise was promising, and I was interested in the Nanaimo, British Columbia setting, but this book doesn't even rise to the level of competence. Juby does all right except when she has to tackle human emotions; some of the passages have all the subtlety of an anvil.

As Alex tacked up Detroit... he was confused and dismayed by his growing feelings for his friend. Wh
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Queer teens and horse lovers
I love it when a book can pull a new interest out of me. I always admired horses, but delving into this story got me into the shoes of people who REALLY love them. It provided an opportunity to enter a new world that is not the easiest to get into (as the plot illustrates). It was surprising that the story favored English style riding more than Western as the title infers, but this was a welcoming direction.

The two main characters -Alex and Cleo- were very interesting and provided completely dif
This book is about Alex and Cleo.
Both ride horses, but for very different reasons.
Both have problems, but very different problems.
Their lives cross and they begin to help each other.

I really enjoyed this book because it just seemed real. The characters seemed to be real with real problems and real families. Nothing was perfect like it is sometimes in books. It also didn't seem to be over the top, which is another way novels can go. Instead, it just all seems real.

I do want to say how much I
Jan 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 13+
Recommended to Jessi by: SPL teen book listserve
This book was a breath of fresh air. It is an easy read, with well developed characters and an interesting story line.

Alex loves dressage. He loves riding horses. And it just so happens that he also loves boys. Or at least likes them. Cleo is in a local boarding school for girls where they teach english riding. She rides dressage, but it would be a leap to say that she loves anything--except for the things she's not supposed to, of course. Alex and Cleo meet when they both start taking lessons
Ashley D--
Jan 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
When I was a teenager I would have sunk my teeth into any remotely queer story. Over the last ten years I have read many YA books dealing with the "issue" of homosexuality, but I never found anything I could really identify with. Another Kind of Cowboy, where have you been?

A great read for anyone who is tired of the plethora of insubstantial coming-out stories that treat homosexuality as an issue of great importance. Another Kind of Cowboy is a story about two teenagers with different circumstan
Jenn Estepp
unfortunately, this is a dual-protagonist book, wherein one of them is way more interesting than the other. meaning, if this book were only about alex, the coming-of-age-and-coming-out cowboy in question, it would maybe have been aces. alas, it also focuses on cleo, the cliched, one-dimensional, spoiled, selfish, rich girl whom he takes dressage lessons with. she's seriously one of the most poorly developed and unappealing characters i've read in a long while, which it pains me to say because ju ...more
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(from her website)

I was raised in Smithers, BC, Canada and lived there until I moved to Toronto at age 20. I had a brief and unsuccessful career as a fashion design student and, after I worked at a series of low paying jobs, such as server, record store employee, etc., I began a degree in English Literature at University of Toronto, which I finished at the University of British Columbia. After gra
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