Review: Horseplay (Hickville High #2.5) by Mary Karlik

Book Blurb

Three weeks after her longtime boyfriend dumps her, high school senior and queen bee Penny Wilson declares she is over him and finished with dating. But life without her ex is more difficult than simply repeating a few affirmations. A queen bee needs a king, or she wobbles dangerously close to the edge of the popularity ladder. To make matters worse, her dad announces he’s hired Wrangler-wearing calf roper Ty Jackson to work on their English horse farm. Never mind his curly blond hair and six-pack abs—he’s a rodeo team bottom-runger and no way is Penny going to admit she knows him, let alone allow him into her social circle. 

Ty convinces her he can teach her to connect more deeply with her horse and settle her nerves in the show arena. But as they work together, Penny discovers that while she might be riding better, being around Ty does nothing to settle her nerves. Will a hush-hush relationship with Ty make matters worse with her dad? And what if her friends at school discover Ty is more than just a farm hand? Because between her show ambitions and her social status, she’s walking a fine line—and the price is everything that matters to her most.

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Toot's Review by Stacy Sabala

Penny Wilson was dumped by her cheating boyfriend Josh.  She is having a hard time getting over the relationship and her obvious replacement by her “popular friends”.  She has decided to concentrate on her riding and her competitions.
However Ty Jackson is now working for her dad at the farm.  She now has to ride home every day from school with him.  They start building their friendship that was torn apart in seventh grade.  It seems to be easy to talk to each other.
However Penny starts having confusing feelings for Ty.  She believes he isn’t her type.  He is a cowboy on the roping team.  He is below her social stratosphere. The more time she spends with Ty the more he sees the real her.  He offers to help with her riding and jumping.  The charity show for her mother is too important.
However Ty can’t stand the two lives she leads and refuses to be a part of it.  She has no idea how she is supposed to move forward by herself.
I like this author and the Hickville High series.  I was excited to get this book.  It was totally separate from the first two books but I liked the characters that were introduced.  Penny was definitely stuck up in the beginning.  In fact the author took her time really forming the story and making Penny realize what she was doing.  I wanted to shake her.  In fact in the beginning I didn’t really like her.  She was a bit of a mean girl that found herself losing social status because her boyfriend cheated on her.  Nothing like a fall from grace to make things realistic.

It was also interesting that the author really hit home that high school never changes.  It is sad how students hide their real selves in order to fight it.  I like that this fact is a clear message in the book.  A very realistic storyline and confusing romance for Penny.  She could be any girl in any high school. A great read and I give it a 4 out of 5.

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