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Gray, a young girl struggling to recover from her own deep wounds, becomes involved with Chav, a mysterious and intriguing new boy in her class, who claims that he and his two younger siblings are searching for their father, the King of the Gypsies
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Grade 5-9-Horse-crazy Gray, 13, is drawn to a strange new boy who calls himself Chav. She sees him riding a beautiful black stallion, follows its trail, and learns that he is living on his own with his younger brother and sister. When the children become ill, Gray and her aunt (with whom she lives) take them in, but Chav is afraid to open up to them. He has run away from his rich, white father whose abuse killed his mother, and he clings to a romantic ideal of returning to the Gypsy life his mother once led. He doesn't want to trust non-Gypsies, but Gray and her aunt are weakening his defenses. His anger and confusion mount until he decides to kill the boys from school who have teased him and then commit suicide. Gray intercepts him and he breaks down and confides his fears. Springer makes these characters and their troubled lives convincing. Glimpses of Chav's thoughts written in his journal punctuate Gray's first-person narrative. Romantic young readers will be as fascinated as she is by the Heathcliff-like Chav and his confused siblings. While the ending is a bit too tidy, this is a satisfying and often compelling story with vivid, memorable characters. It's more of a psychological than sociological novel and should appeal to horse-story fans and problem-novel readers alike.
Louise L. Sherman, Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 6-9. When her new classmate Chav, a Gypsy, recites an original poem about "the black horse of anger," middle-school equestrian Gray is enchanted. Later, spotting Chav and his younger brother and sister on a beautiful black stallion, Gray follows them to an abandoned farm and learns they are abused runaways. The story line requires considerable suspension of disbelief. Among other things, it seems that Chav's father has got away with beating his wife to death. Rather than the word Gypsy, Springer uses the term Rom, which is preferred by members of the group, and she confronts such negative stereotypes as the roaming thief, but her physical description of the youth ("His fierce dark eyes looked wild") is exotic. Still, the restrained writing style, true-to-life dialogue, and smooth integration of the first- and third-person narratives create a convincing portrait of an abused child: his inner turmoil, lack of self-worth, and tremendous anger, with its potential to erupt into violence. Julie Corsaro
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Book Description Troll Communications, 1995. Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0816736332