There’s a list on Goodreads that identifies horse books that are always free – score! Love and Muddy Puddles was on the list, so of course I tottered over to Amazon to download and read it.
Coco Franks is turning thirteen soon and it seems that life might suddenly be turning out ok. Coco feels she has been living in the shadow of her twin, Charlie. Charlie is athletic, makes friends easily and is good at school.
Coco feels that her only worthy skill is dressing well and highlighting her beauty through the appropriate hair and makeup. She is rapt when it is noticed by the coolest girls in school – Saffron and Tiger Lily. Coco becomes a part of their group in time, although it means distancing herself from her best friend, Samantha. Both girls agree it’s for their common good – in time maybe Coco can help Samantha rise in popularity status.
And just as soon as things are looking up, they take a dive downwards. An unexpected announcement from her father leaves Coco reeling. The family are moving from the hustle and bustle of the city. They’re moving to Budgong, New South Wales where they will live on an acreage – in a shed whilst their house is built.
Although this is a horse story, horses don’t feature until about halfway through the book. Coco’s character is a very superficial, self absorbed person who genuinely doesn’t realise it. As she is forced to make new friends in the country, she does a lot of growing and changing.
And ultimately it is first a horse that is misunderstood by others that helps her to do this. In time Coco realises that her friends back in the city are truly mean and superficial – not worth having at all. This is with some help with her brutally honest twin and a straight talker named James who lives next door.
Love and Muddy Puddles was a really enjoyable read. In spite of Coco’s obvious flaws, she was a realistic character and a likeable protagonist. The way the horses were woven into the story worked nicely, too.