This year middle grade has had a lot of amazing books and I have a feeling there are quite a few to come. The Wild Path is one of these books. It sounded so amazing that both of us knew we needed to read it. So we knew we had to sign up for the book tour. Today is our stop on the tour hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. We’re going to share our review and some favorite quotes.
The Wild Path by Sarah R. Baughman
Genre: Middle Grade Mystery
Publishing Date: September 1, 2020
The Line Tender meets The Secret Horses of Briar Hill in this hopeful, heartfelt story about one girl’s search for legendary horses and her quest to piece her family back together.
Twelve-year-old Claire Barton doesn’t like the “flutter feeling” that fills her chest when she worries about the future, but she knows what she loves: the land that’s been in her family for three generations; her best friend Maya; her family’s horses, Sunny and Sam; and her older brother Andy. That’s why, with Andy recently sent to rehab after a DUI, and her parents planning to sell the horses, Claire’s world feels like it might flutter to pieces.
When Claire learns about equine therapy, she imagines a less lonely future that keeps her family together, brother and horses included. But, when she finds mysterious wild horses in the woods behind her house, she realizes she has a bitmore company than she bargained for. With this new secret-and a little bit of luck-Claire will discover the beauty of change, the power of family, and the strength within herself.
Candyce: I really think all books could take a lesson from middle grade books, because they have the most amazing covers. I love how colorful the cover of The Wild Path is. It fits the story and the time of year it takes place perfectly. The cover is just as magical as the story!
Isabelle: I really like this cover! You can tell it’s a middle grade cover, the line are a bit softer and the colorscheme is wonderful. The cover fits the story so well and is very atmospheric. I wouldn’t mind having this one on m shelves at all.
Candyce: The Wild Path is a beautifully written book that deals with difficult subjects in a way for this age group to understand. I think it may even help children to realize they’re not the only one who has had to deal with addiction and how this affects a family as a whole.
Our main character Claire is having a hard time since her brother was sent to rehab after a DUI. This was an interesting aspect of the story. What is addiction? What happens to someone? Why are they at rehab? I feel the author dealt with these subjects in a very age appropriate way. I appreciated the fact that she showed a family doesn’t go back to normal when someone goes to rehab and they all need to find their new normal. It was clear Claire has a special relationship with her brother, so this wasn’t easy for her. I think through Andy’s letters, time with the horses and the support group she goes to were very important to her processing everything.
Horses play a big part in The Wild Path and that made this story very special. I know horses are very sensitive to someone’s emotions and I loved how big a part they played during this story. I’ve heard of equine therapy before and it’s really amazing. I loved Claire doing her best to try and win money to keep their horses for equine therapy. I loved the wild horses she found and the story she researches during the book. It felt like this was something Claire needed while processing everything happening at home.
All in all, an amazing story that shows us what happens when a family deals with addiction. I also loved the side characters. The friendships Claire has were amazing and I loved seeing the support group she went to. Making it clear that the addiction wasn’t their fault and that they can’t change anything is such an important lesson. The author also describes the anxiety Claire is feeling in an interesting way. I would’ve like to have seen a bit more of this in the book, but it doesn’t make it less amazing.
Isabelle: This book really took my by surprise! As you can imagine I was drawn in by the horse aspect of the story. But wow, this was so much more than that. This book deals with a lot of heavy topics and touches upon some others as well. The biggest part of the story is dealing with addiction in the family and I loved reading about that through the eyes of 12 year old Claire.
Claire’s brother is sent to rehab and she has trouble reconciling her amazing brother with the person he might become. The author writes about this process beautifully and shows we all need help sometimes. I think this book deals with addiction in a way that kids can understand and learn from. It could be so helpful for kids that have to deal with addiction in their own family.
Claire goes to a support group and while she doesn’t like it at first, she learns what it has to offer and even makes a friend or two along the way. I loved this process! Both her family and best friend are very supportive and I simply loved reading that. Claire also deals with anxiety and I really liked how her parents handled that. You could tell it effected Claire but she also slowly learns to deal with it.
Like I said, I loved the horse aspect. It was all written very well and fit with my experience with horse. Equine therapy is a great way to deal with certain problems and to get to know yourself better. I loved how it was incorporated in the story! The part of the story I liked least were actually the wild horses. To be honest, I didn’t really care about that part and wouldn’t have mind if that was left out or written a bit differently. But all the other horse parts were great!
In the end this is a beautiful book that deals with heavy topics. It’s written really well and I read it super quick. I would love to read more by this author in the future and would highly recommend picking this one up!
“She picks good times to talk about him, though. Times when she knows the calm inside me wells up thicker than worry.”
“A sparrow pokes its beak at my heart, and I feel it like a pinprick, tiny bit sharp.”
“I do like the idea of a way out. A path I could find, made just for me.”
“I want things to be easier but they just aren’t. It doesn’t mean I can’t be strong anyway.”
“The start of a path unfolds before me, wild and true. Where it leads is up to me.”
Of course we’re not the only ones participating in the tour. There are a lot of other amazing bloggers and bookstagrammers, so click here for the full schedule so you can check those out.
Giveaway (US Only)
During this tour there’s a chance for US readers to win a finished copy of The Wild Path. The giveaway is open until September 22nd. Click here to enter.
About the Author
Sarah R. Baughman is an author whose debut middle grade novel, THE LIGHT IN THE LAKE, is forthcoming from Little, Brown Books For Young Readers in 2019. A former middle and high school English teacher currently working as an educational consultant, Sarah graduated from Grinnell College and the University of Michigan, where she studied English, German, and Education. Sarah is represented by Katie Grimm at Don Congdon Associates. When she’s not writing, she’s probably reading, running, or getting outdoors with her family.
The Wild Path is a beautifully written middle grade book that deals with some difficult subjects. Sarah R. Baughman has an amazing way with words and we’ll definitely have to check out her other work.