The thunderbolt pony by Stacy Gregg
HarperCollins, 2017. ISBN 9780008257026
(Age: 11+) Highly recommended. After a devastating earthquake hits Evie's hometown of Parnassus on New Zealand's South Island, the entire town and herself are forced to evacuate. During the initial earthquake, Evie's mum is injured and one of the first to be rescued by helicopter. Evie was meant to be on the ride with her mother, but refuses to leave her beloved pony, Gus, her dog, Jock, and her cat Moxy behind. She is determined to find another way before people realise Evie did not go with her mother. Instead she flees with her tribe of animals in a race against time across difficult terrain to reach the port of Kaikoura. Locals are being evacuated to the port where they will be transported to safety.
No one could have ever imagined the difficulties Evie would encounter. With aftershocks constantly shaking, Evie will have to overcome her OCD and draw on her bravery, strength, and resilience to bring her and her animals to safety.
Having never been one to read a 'horsey' book I was absolutely enthralled from start to finish. It is a fast-paced book about a girl's determination to do anything to save her beloved animals - even putting her own life at risk. An emotional journey sees Evie refuse to give up even when faced with impossible odds.
Evie is 12 years old and suffers from OCD. This has a huge impact on her life and her ability to cope with events. There are countless themes that are portrayed in the book including resilience, bravery, family, community spirit, death and determination. I think the audience need to be at least 11 years old as the themes can be quite strong and the readers need to have a degree of maturity to fully understand them.
This book would be a hit with girls in particular, but not necessarily just ones that enjoy a horse story. A must have for the library collection.