This middle-grade, non-fiction book is about the epic filly, Rachel Alexandra, who in 2009 became the only three-year-old filly to ever win Horse of the Year. Although this book is about a horse, it is also, more fundamentally, about how a strong female, supported by a group of people who believe in her, can excel despite heavy odds against her.
Rachel Alexandra, a no-name horse with no particularly fancy pedigree, showed the world that fillies can beat males, even males twice their age. In the process, Rachel Alexandra won the adoration and respect of new fans — especially young girls and their mothers — across the nation. This book is important to those readers because it is a tale of a large, powerful, muscular female athlete who did not let anything stand in her way. She ran her way and she ran the boys down.
VOYA, a YA trade book publication had this to day about the book: Aronson does an amazing job of combining knowledge of the sport, interviews with experts, and perfect descriptions of action to create a story that even readers with little interest in the sport will love. Readers who have no knowledge of horse racing will learn from the behind-the-scenes details and interviews with the people who worked closest with Rachel Alexandra. Packed with action scenes, Aronson’s biography shows how truly exciting the world of horse racing can be, using the story of the record-breaking filly who beat all the boys.
Although there are many middle-grade novels about horses and there are some middle-grade non-fiction books about other racehorses, including Come on Seabiscuit and The Big Red Horse (about Secretariat), these are all male horse stories. There are no middle-grade horse stories in which the star racehorse is a filly. Rachel Alexandra’s story, from forlorn, rejected filly to queen of the racetrack will begin to fill that gap.
Young readers who enjoy stories of strong women who challenge gender roles, like tennis great Billie Jean King (who defeated Bobby Riggs) and aviator Amelia Earhart, will enjoy this story.
“This fascinating book will have you cheering, pumping your fist, and holding your breath as Rachel Alexandra races her way into your heart and stays there. Perfect for young readers who love horses, and even those who don’t.” — Maggie Dana, author of Timber Ridge Riders
“Aronson’s telling of Rachel Alexandra’s story proves that the best athletes can be role models, and sometimes those athletes need not be human to inspire us.” —Brendan O’Meara, author of Six Weeks in Saratoga
“This vivid, swiftly moving story showcases Rachel Alexandra’s heart, grace, perseverance, and sheer athletic power that earned her the love and admiration of everyone around her. It also suggests how female athletes can shine when given the opportunity to compete on a level playing field.” —Susan Richards, author of Chosen by a Horse, Chosen Forever, and Saddled
“A straightforward biography of one of thoroughbred racing’s greatest mares.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Whether a horse enthusiast or new to the sport, there’s much to learn from Rachel’s story.” —Booklist Online