'The Lost Kodas' (Apley Towers #1) by Myra King
"In the shade of the Giant's Throne Mountain, and on the coast of the Indian Ocean, Port St. Christopher is home to Apley Towers; a riding school for girls and boys, young or old, who learn what it means to be a true horse rider.Kaela and Trixie call Apley Towers their Neverland. It's the best place in the world - a place for friendship, laughter and learning. But when both girls take on more responsibilities than they can handle, they have to make some tough choices that take a toll on their friendship.Will they have to sacrifice Apley in the end? It takes a girl on the other side of the world to remind them of what's important and that challenges are there to be overcome."
‘Apley Towers, The Lost Kodas’ by Myra King is the first in a series of middle-grade novels about a riding school in South Africa. I received a free copy of this book to read and review via Goodreads Giveaways.
Apley Towers is a riding school deep in the heart of South Africa. It is run by Wendy, who moved from England to Africa to set up her own school. Kaela Willoughby and her best friend Trixie King are a pair of teenage girls who learnt to ride at the school and are still having lessons in the intermediate classes. When Wendy has to go to Cape Town for a while she asks Kaela and Trixie to take over teaching the beginner’s class for a bit. Kaela accepts on behalf of both of them, but as Trixie has a longer journey to the stables Kaela has to do most of the teaching on her own. To add to the workload, a mother of one of the beginner riders asks Kaela to help put on a show jumping competition at the riding school. Kaela says they will do it, but the extra work puts a strain on her friendship with Trixie. Kaela has also recently befriended a girl names Phoenix who lives in Canada, and Trixie is battling her jealousy with having to share her best friend.
The two friends also have a lot of pressure from school to contend with. Kaela is hoping to be accepted on to a writing course but is told that she needs to do more extracurricular activities and worries that she will have to cut down on her riding to do something else. Meanwhile, Trixie is trying to persuade her parents and teachers that she will be able to take seven subjects next year instead of the required six as she wants to take all the sciences to keep her options open. The extra work though, may mean giving up riding.
The girls have all this to worry about, their friendship is on the rocks and they have a show jumping contest to organise in only a few weeks. Can they make it a success?
I thought this was a charming little book. I enjoyed the story and the writing style. The text is nice an simple and easy for young teens to read but is also very well structured and gets the story across really well.
I don’t know much about horse riding myself. The closest I’ve come to it is a pony ride/walk at a farm when I was about 7. I remember being so terrified that I almost passed out as I was a very small child and the pony seemed massive. But I do have a few friends who ride and I think horses are really beautiful creatures, as long as I don’t have to get too close to them!
I loved the fact that this was set in South Africa. I’ve never been there but from what I’ve read and seen about it, it seems like such a magical place. I enjoyed the characters in this book, especially Kaela and Phoenix. I was great seeing these two characters from such different parts of the world interacting and listening to each other’s stories with such awe. I also loved the interview with the author at the back.
I would definitely recommend this book to 10-15 year olds who love horses, but I think that older readers can enjoy it too.
I would give this book 4 stars :)
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