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Stormwind of the North Country by Jodi…

Stormwind of the North Country (2009)

by Jodi Auborn

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Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

Fourteen-year-old Kat is used to her independence. She and her younger brother have been raised by their father. She thinks of her mother, who died when Kat was only five, as a sort of guardian angel.

Kat has always loved horses. Since they can't afford to have one living in their own barn, she spends time at a stables owned by Lorraine Stillwater. Stillwater doesn't take care of her horses at all. In fact, the animals live in filth and are abused on a regular basis. When the story begins, Kat is headed to Stillwater's stable to purchase a white horse named Stormwind. Much to her horror and disappointment, the nasty stable owner tells her $200 is no longer the price. Instead she wants $1,000 or she will be selling the horse to a slaughterhouse.

Kat is furious. She has witnessed the terrible treatment and horrible living conditions for the last time. She steals Stormwind and attempts to hide him on their property. When her father discovers the theft, he demands that she return the horse and won't listen to Kat's stories about neglect and abuse.

Just a few days later, Kat is passing Stillwater's property and hears a commotion. What she sees fires her up all over again. Stillwater is beating the horse in her attempt to get it into the transport trailer headed to the slaughterhouse. Once again, Kat steps forward and takes the horse. With the helpful distraction of the driver from the slaughterhouse, she rides away on Stormwind. This time when her father sees the evidence of the beating, he agrees that the horse should stay with them.

In the meantime, Kat and her brother are shocked to find out that their young father has decided to invite a woman to their home for the summer. He met Lavina at one of the performances of his music group, and evidently he has fallen in love. Lavina is not a country girl, and she doesn't seem interested in fitting in at all. In fact, when Kat and her brother take the opportunity to snoop through her belongings, they believe she might actually be a real estate agent intent on getting their father to sell her his property.

The real action begins when Kat comes up with a plan. She tells her brother that she plans to run away and follow an old abandoned route from their home into Canada. The idea is that when her father discovers she is missing, he will become involved in looking for her and Lavina will leave.

Kat's journey into the wilderness riding on a pregnant Stormwind takes her into one crisis situation after another. In addition to crossing rapids, dealing with scavenging raccoons, and creating a shelter to weather storms, Kat meets Randy, another teen looking for answers in the deep woods.

STORMWIND OF THE NORTH COUNTRY is unique in that author Jodi Auborn uses a female protagonist in the role of wilderness survivor. Readers looking for a girl action figure will be satisfied with this read, despite the sometimes unpredictable prose. ( )
  GeniusJen | Feb 14, 2010 |
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To Mom, with love.
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Randy looked from the sky out over the dark water. “Have you ever wondered what it would be like if one day, you realize that your whole life was just a dream? You wake up as a baby in a crib, and it’s beginning all over again...”
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