The Wild Path is about a girl’s search for legendary horses and her quest to bring her family back together.
Claire Barton, 12, doesn’t like the “shaky feeling” that fills her chest when she worries about the future, but she knows what she loves: the land that has been in her family for three generations; her best friend Maya; her family’s horses, Sunny and Sam; and her brother Andy. That’s why Andy has just been admitted to rehab and her parents are planning to sell the horse, and Claire’s world feels like it’s about to fall to pieces.
When Claire learns about equine therapy, she imagines a less lonely future that keeps her family together, including her brother and horses. However, when she finds mysterious wild horses in the woods behind her house, she realizes she has more companions than she expected. With this new secret – and a little luck – Claire will discover the beauty of change, the power of family, and the strength within herself.
A realistic picture of a family’s struggle to find new ways to cope with change. Claire wants things to return to the peace and quiet of her childhood, but as she learns to trust others and matures, she understands that change is needed. Her brother’s image is not the full picture and he helps her understand the changes. She also finds that trusting others and understanding what others are going through helps her have a more accurate perspective on her life.
Claire is a 12-year-old girl who lives in Vermont with her parents and two horses. Her brother was a recovering addict and the family’s only option seemed to be to sell the horses because they weren’t cheap and the center had exhausted their finances. Claire’s worries are tested when her future with the animals is threatened.
The book is like a love letter to the Northern country. The fresh air, changing leaves, feet on the ground and the scenery in general are described very well. I really loved Baughman’s prose and descriptions throughout the book.
Sensitive topics in the book are handled in a way that is appropriate for middle school students. Honestly, I think a lot of children (and adults) will read these passages and be able to relate. Claire is truly a great friend and someone who loves to talk once she starts to trust someone. Horseback riding therapy helped her gain confidence right from the start with a new friend.
The Wild Path
- Narrated by: Caitlin Kelly
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