Title: The Thunderbolt Pony
Author: Stacy Gregg
Series: – –
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Age Range: 9+
Available: 5th Oct
A dramatic and emotional story about one girl’s determination to stand by her beloved animals – and her refusal to give up, even in the face of impossible odds.
When a devastating earthquake hits Evie’s hometown of Parnassus on New Zealand’s South Island, she and the rest of the town are forced to evacuate. Evie’s injured mum is one of the first to be rescued by helicopter and Evie will be next. But when realises that she will be forced to leave her beloved pony, Gus, her dog, Jock, and her cat Moxy behind, she is determined to find another way. Before the rescue helicopter returns, Evie flees with Gus, Jock and Moxy in a race against time across difficult terrain to reach the port of Kaikoura, where she has heard that people will be evacuated by ship in three days’ time. Surely there will be space for her, Gus, Jock and Moxy there?
But the journey is harder than Evie could ever have imagined, and with aftershocks constantly shaking, Evie will have to draw on all her bravery, strength, and resilience to bring her and her animals to safety . . . and hope that they reach the boat in time.
Source: ARC from HarperCollins Children’s Books via NetGalley
This book is perfect for any animal loving young readers out there, particularly horse-adoring girls. Not only because of Evie’s amazing journey with her three animal friends, across the earthquake torn South Island of New Zealand, but because it also delves deeper.
There is plenty of excitement to be faced as Evie, her pony Gus, her dog Jock and her incredible cat Moxy travel alone, but there are other things to also face – such as Evie’s OCD. I thought this was handled incredibly well, from the causes through to her therapy and how it impacted her life. Evie’s been through a lot, even before the earthquake crushes her house, injures her mother and leaves her travelling for days all on her own, but this story tells it brilliantly in a mix of flashbacks and present adventure, with a lot of Greek mythology thrown in for good measure.
I really enjoyed this. Evie’s troubles are sensitively handled and all of her animal friends have distinct personalities. Gus is steady and Jock is friendly, but I loved Moxy the most. That cat definitely lives up to her name.
Packed with adventure and danger, heartache and excitement, this book is about more than one incredible journey. It’s about friendship and loyalty, mental health and grief, and also the kind of determination that saves lives and changes worlds. I loved it, and if you know any animal-loving young (and not so young) readers, chances are they’ll enjoy it too.
The Thunderbolt Pony is out October 5th.
Visit Stacy Gregg for more details.