Another Kind of Cowboy, by Susan Juby
YA/Canadian/Realistic/Horse fiction/Gay interest
This is a fabulous book by the author of the Alice, I Think books - just as great, but so completely different from those, and perhaps even a little more masterful in scope and depth.
The book features two main characters. My favourite of these two is Alex. From a very young age, all Alex has wanted is to ride dressage. But when his parents manage, despite budgetary issues, to get him a horse, he follows his father's wishes, and learns to ride like a cowboy. As he grows up, he tries to live up to his father's image of him, but must more and more face the fact that not only is he gay, but he also can't give up his dream of riding dressage. Throughout the story we follow Alex as he comes into his own and starts to live his own life, rather than someone else's vision. The foil, the other main character, is Cleo. She is a spoiled rich kid who rides dressage because she has to ride and doesn't want to be a jumper. She has everything handed to her, except perhaps for the love and respect of her own parents, and any kind of the same passion that Alex feels for life.
The book follows these two characters as they come to know each other, and through this, themselves. Being a Susan Juby book there are some great moments of humour. But there is also a lot to deal with here. A lot of difficult feelings and situations, a lot of growth from the characters.
I loved it. It is a 340 page book that I got through within two days (two days where I worked full-time). I didn't sleep much, but I couldn't put the book down. I highly recommend this book to horse lovers and non-horse lovers alike. It is a great piece of fiction.