Read first chapter excerpt here
Meet 16-year-old Dakota Brown. She used to love all things “horse” until she lost everything, including hope. The minute she sets foot on her foster parents' farm—Starlight Animal Rescue—she plans her escape. But can an “impossible” horse named Blackfire and this quirky collection of animal lovers be the home she's always dreamed of? Starlight Animal Rescue: Where problem horses are trained and loved, where abandoned dogs become heroes, where stray cats become loyal companions. And where people with nowhere to fit in find a place to belong.
Runaway by Dandi Daley Mackall was a sweet and enjoyable teen novel that demonstrated the importance of a loving and forgiving family and a trust in God. Dakota has never had a real family that cared for her, and she has never felt needed by anyone or anything. The new foster family she lives with is quite a different sort who rescue both children and animals, have very loving relationships with one another, and have such unique personalities that Dakota does not know what to think. All she knows is to make lists and to runaway. Runaway from others, from herself, and from God. This novel is the first in the Starlight Rescue series and contains references and contact with both Winnie and Catman from the Winnie the Horse Gentler series, which was a wonderful addition for those who have read that previous series. I also liked the characters because they were all very unique and each had their own quirky traits that set them apart. Dakota was the main character, and the novel was told in first person from her point of view. She had her own flaws, but as the book progressed, it was inspiring to see how her heart and attitude changed once she experienced love, trust, and forgiveness. Her relationship with Blackfire the abused horse was also enjoyable to see as both had experienced some kind of abuse at the hands of others. Runaway was an easy and quick read, but it was a good young teen novel, and I look forward to reading more of the series for fun this summer.