Book Review: Turning on a Dime (for young readers)

Maggie Dana, author of the Timber Ridge Riders series for middle-grade readers (9-13), steps fearlessly out on a limb with Turning on a Dime, which follows two horse-crazy girls who live very different lives . . . 150 years apart.
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Maggie Dana, author of the Timber Ridge Riders series for middle-grade readers (9-13), steps fearlessly out on a limb with Turning on a Dime, which follows two horse-crazy girls who live very different lives . . . 150 years apart.

Samantha DeVries is a modern-day teenager who is on track to become the first African-American to ride in the Olympics. The fact that she’s bi-racial is a non-factor in 2014, but it becomes critical—even life-threatening—when she accidentally travels back through time and wakes up in a Mississippi plantation house during the Civil War.

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Fortunately, she finds a kindred spirit in Caroline Chandler, the tomboyish daughter of the plantation owner. Caroline likes nothing better than slipping off to the stables, donning her brother’s breeches, and going for a ride of her beloved horse.

After the girls get over the shock of their unusual situation, there are funny moments, such as Caroline's reaction to bras, i-phones and slang from the future. There are seriously scary moments, too, because Sam is perceived as a runaway slave--and she’s clueless as to how to get back to the 21st century.

Time travel is a difficult premise, but Dana makes it looks easy, moving flawlessly from one time period to the other. Chapters alternate between Sam’s and Caroline’s points of view—and I couldn’t wait to turn the pages!

Maggie Dana's Timber Ridge Riders series has shown that the author has a knack for creating realistic plots and non-stereotypical characters that readers can identify with. She knows her horses and, it turns out, Civil War history.

Turning on a Dime is an exciting addition to Dana’s creative works and a story that transcends the boundaries of its young reader audience. It's available for $8.99 (244-page paperback), $2.99 (Kindle) or free (Kindle Unlimited subscribers) on Amazon.com.

Check out the information on Maggie and her books at www.maggiedana.com (There's something here for you adult readers, too.) and www.timberridgeriders.com.

About Maggie Dana

Maggie Dana's first riding lesson, at the age of five, was less than wonderful. In fact, she hated it so much, she didn't try again for another three years. But all it took was the right instructor and the right horse and she was hooked for life.

Her new riding stable was slap bang in the middle of Pinewood Studios, home of England's movie industry. So while learning to groom horses, clean tack and muck stalls, Maggie also got to see the stars in action. Some even spoke to her.

Born and raised near London, Maggie now makes her home on the Connecticut shoreline where she divides her time between hanging out with the family's horses and writing her next book in the Timber Ridge Riders series.