Read Keeping Secrets by Maggie Dana Online


A valuable show jumper is dead, and it’s all her fault, which is why 14-year-old Kate McGregor has put horses and riding out of her life. Forever! But her new summer job as a companion to Holly Chapman, a former riding star who’s now confined to a wheelchair, takes Kate back to the barn — the last place she wants to be. Can Kate keep her terrible secret from Holly, who isA valuable show jumper is dead, and it’s all her fault, which is why 14-year-old Kate McGregor has put horses and riding out of her life. Forever! But her new summer job as a companion to Holly Chapman, a former riding star who’s now confined to a wheelchair, takes Kate back to the barn — the last place she wants to be. Can Kate keep her terrible secret from Holly, who is fast becoming her best friend? More important, can she keep it from Angela Dean who lives for only two things — winning ribbons and causing trouble? Kate manages to hide her secret until a riding accident forces it into the open . . . and it’s just the moment Angela has been waiting for....

Title : Keeping Secrets
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780985150402
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 176 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Keeping Secrets Reviews

  • Donna
    2018-11-10 02:50

    My feelings on the book can be accurately described by the phrase: “it’s not you, it’s me.” This book is just so clichéd, and I’ve become far too critical for books like this. There’s no doubt that it’s well written and it’s definitely a decent book for anyone who loves horses, but I did have quite a few problems with this book.Kate McGregor used to love horses a riding, but after a tragic accident that she was blamed for, she makes the decision to give up horses forever. She takes a summer job as a companion to Holly, a girl confined to a wheelchair. Problem is, Holly’s mother is a riding instructor and Holly loves horses. Kate’s secret is forced out into the open, and Angela Dean—the barn’s resident mean girl—has it out for her.*sigh*. Does that synopsis sound like anything you’ve read before? That’s because the book is like almost every other horse book.Let me summarise:There’s a girl who either has no money or promises to never ride again.She meets an awesome horse.Something causes the girl to start riding again.The girl is a really awesome rider and everyone’s all like “OMG, you’re soooo amazing!” :DThere’s a mean rich girl who’s totally jealous and tries to make the nice girl lose.Well, you get the picture…This book was so predictable. Angela Dean does everything in her power to win first place in a very important horse show and everyone hates on her all the time. Kate is the best rider ever, and has no problems with her riding whatsoever. Everyone works really hard for the horse show and the book goes on…The characters were very underdeveloped. With the exception of Kate and Angela, all the other girls were completely boring and plain. Holly is very uninteresting, and we never get to know the other riders on the team at all. One of my biggest problems with this book is the central plot. While you would think that the book would focus on riding and preparing for the show, it doesn’t. In fact, the book is so focused on the conflict between Angela and Kate that it’s almost sickening. I’m just so sick of the whole rich-girl poor-girl type conflicts in horse books. The conflict is shallow, and as usual, the rich girl is completely bitchy and unrealistic, because winning a ribbon in a horse show is like, the most important thing, EVA!! (sorry. I couldn’t resist being sarcastic for a moment.)There should have been more focus on the horses within the book. We hear Holly say that no one else except for one girl is good enough to ride her horse. Yet, when Kate gets on, Black Magic behaves perfectly and suddenly turns into a push-button horse.… what?Seriously. This book has huge potential for a bigger, better storyline, but instead, it focuses on a very petty, unrealistic feud between two characters I couldn’t care less about.A very typical middle-grade horse book, I can actually see this appealing to many people. It’s actually perfect for younger horse lovers. If you’re getting sick of clichéd books, stay away from this.

  • Mehsi
    2018-11-13 00:53

    I am almost done with the Chestnut Hill series (horses + boarding school) so I was looking around for some new horse books to enjoy. I found 3 new series, and I am going to slowly try them all out.So this was my first one to try out and I have to say I really enjoyed this one. Though I have one thing I need to get of my chest. Why? Why, do all these Horse books have a mean girl (or a mean girl and a posse) in it? I get the whole rival stuff, but this is just ridiculous. Various Dutch books about horses > mean girl. Canterwood Crest > Mean Girl. Chestnut Hill > Mean Girl. Do I need to go on? I just don't get why it needs to be added. Sure it adds some fun drama to the mix, but it is also frustrating and I am annoyed at why no one (but the kids themselves) notice. How come the adults never do anything about it? There are hints and also enough clear stuff happening that anyone with a brain would notice, but oh no. :|In this book we also have a girl, and once again (just like all the other books), she is rich, wants to please her parents, and is a bitch in general to anyone and everyone. Bah. I get that she is probably pressured by her mother to do right, to get medals, but does she need to be like this so much? Bah. Phew, that is out of my system. Now to all the good points, and there are a lot of them!I loved our main character, and I also loved her backstory. It was sad, but it made her character even better and likeable. You can just see her struggle, you can see her try to cope. She is determined, but also sweet, responsible and much more. I loved that instead of spending a summer doing nothing at all she decided to take a job at the Timber Ridge part, and help out a girl her age. Not many girls of her age would do that, so I was just squeeing in happiness. I also loved her when she was riding (and caring for) horses. She is amazing, and I am sure she can get really far if she follows more lessons. I have to applaud for her as well for her determination and the fact that she didn't let Angela take over. That she just stuck her ground, that she didn't let go of any of her ideals. That requires guts, many girls would just have complied to Angela, but not this girl.Her secret, and how that was handled? On the one hand I liked how it was handled, and how it was solved, but on the other time I felt it was rushed. Like that part needed to be quickly done and gone with so the story could move to the right parts. Holly. Even though she is in a wheelchair she is an amazing character with a strong will and even stronger determination. Nothing stops her from trying things. She never stops hoping she will ride again, she never left her horse, she just kept on going. And sure life wasn't easy, but this girl wasn't easily beaten. It is amazing. So we got 2 strong characters who are so sweet and nice together, and then we also have an amazing fun, drama-filled story that will grab you and will not let you go until the end. I will be sure to read this series further. I am not sure when, but I hope to get the second book soon. :) I would also recommend this book to everyone. Yes, it has some tropes that are best to be erased, but it also has great characters and a fun story. Also lots of horses, riding and more!Review first posted at

  • Laurence R.
    2018-11-08 20:39

    The perfect book for horse lovers! If you've ever read or watched The Saddle Club, this is the next book you should pick up. There's a lot of descriptions of horses that make riders very happy, because they're all accurate. There's also the "horrible girl" thing we've seen in The Saddle Club, except with a different twist, because although both are similar, it'd be no fun if they were identical (and it would be plagiarism, which we obviously don't want). There's drama, horse and boy related, and young teens will love it. I personally loved the competition, because it felt like a real one and the descriptions really got me into the story. I don't know if I would have enjoyed them if I hadn't been a rider myself, because I don't know if I would have understoo them, but since I am, I absolutely loved them. The way Kate acts around horses is very similar to the way I act, which made me remember old memories around a special horse. It's touching and I felt really bad for her when she felt guilty about everything that happened before she started working for Liz. Definitely, I would recommend it to all young and old horse lovers. It's short and sweet and full of horses!(Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)

  • Claire (Cem)
    2018-11-14 20:33

    Very exciting, albiet shortish, teen horse book. 14 year old Kate is struggling with the lose of her favourite horse, Black Magic, but finds herself about to spend the summer helping paralized Holly, around the barn her mom runs. Hard not to quickly fall in love with the characters or the story. I'm in my mid 20's and I love it. It's fun, fast, but with an emotional edge that stops it being silly. I really felt for Kate and her situation. And I felt that while the actions of one girl were on the over dramatic side, I could understand exactly why Kate and Holly were keeping the secrets they were. Any horsey girls 8+ are bound to fall in love with this book. I really enjoy the realistic nature of the horse care involved in the book, something that is vital. Without it, I'd have quickly lost interest. I'm too serious a horse person to not. Even if some of the riding stunts are a little out there! A very enjoying read, even if it only took a couple hours. Looking forward to reading more of this series.

  • Katarina
    2018-11-15 20:58

    I'm a horse lover. I was one of those crazy kids/teens, who spent every free minute at the stable. My bedroom was wallpapered in horse pics. I only read books like these.....when I was 13 or 14.So now that i'm just a few years (decades) older, I am still a sucker for a good horsey book. I'll even read a few bad ones to take me back to my time in the barn. Keeping Secrets is one I really enjoyed. It's pretty short, but I liked the story and the girls. It was different than the usual horse books, had a little bit more of a story and better developed characters. I'm really glad I read this, and I'm going to read the rest of the series for sure.

  • Kelsi
    2018-10-21 02:33

    Uuuuuuugggggggghhh. It's the Canterwood Crest Series all over again. Pretty brat is jealous of MC, sabotages her, MC is really good, better than the brat, the boy likes her instead of the brat, brat is pressured by parents to succeed, it's all Canterwood Crest. Oh course they win the trophy, of course MC gives the award to brat even though she deserves it, I've seen this so many times. I mean, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it, I've just seen it so many times that I probably won't be getting the next book soon.

  • Misty Baker
    2018-10-23 21:46

    When I first had my son I had a barrage of people imparting their motherly wisdom on me. As do most new mothers.“He must learn how to self sooth, let him cry.”“If you don’t put shoes on him right away, he will have weak ankles.”“You must throw everything you have at him for the first five years…that’s when they learn the most!”If I’m being totally honest, the first two I completely ignored, but the bit about “learning” I paid attention to. I didn’t want my kid to grow up behind the pack, struggling in school all because I failed to spend my free time drilling him with vocabulary flashcards. (I was relentless…for about a week.)Now that I’m older (and have a 4-year-old daughter that joined the ranks) my take on “formidable years” has changed.Yes, I think it’s wise to teach your kids as much as you can while they are young, education is important and when they are little they are like sponges. But I’ve realized that the ages between 9-12 are much more vital. Why? Because these are the “impressionable years.” The years that can make or break your child’s “character.”This is the age that your child starts to venture off on their own; make friends that you have never met, learn the words “peer pressure.” These are the years when your child needs a good foundation.I have ALWAYS been an activist for lessons in literature. If you have been following my reviews for a while now you probably know this. (Because I point them out.) So when I find (or an author sends me – which is the case this time) a middle grade series that not only has an interesting story, but teaches a valuable lesson, I can’t help but spread the good news.“A valuable show jumper is dead, and it’s all her fault . . . which is why 14-year-old Kate McGregor has put horses and riding out of her life. Forever!But her new summer job as a companion to Holly Chapman, a former riding star who’s now confined to a wheelchair, takes Kate back to the barn–the last place she wants to be. Can Kate keep her terrible secret from Holly, who is fast becoming her best friend? More important, can she keep her secret from Angela Dean who lives for only two things–winning ribbons and causing trouble?Then a riding accident forces Kate’s secret into the open … and it’s just the moment Angela has been waiting for.”Middle Grade Literature is not a dead genre, but it is one that has a few holes. 9-12 year olds LOVE adventure so the majority of MG lit is based on fantasy or sci-fi. Which is great! Feed the imagination, I can get behind that. BUT…what about real life? AKA contemporary? These are the novels that introduce young audiences to “real” situations. Throw around the “whys” “ifs” and “whats.” Teach important lessons like: truth, consequence, accountability. All things that need to be ingrained at a young age.Am I saying a fantasy book can’t do that? No, of course not…but, it’s much easier for a young child to relate to a situation that CAN happen.Maggie Dana, author of “Keeping Secrets” did an EXCELLENT job of combining the thrill of a good story while at the same time explaining repercussions of ones actions.This book was NOT about how to get the guy, or which paranormal power can trump your nemesis’. (Which are huge plots points in YA lit) It was about a girl who had to learn to believe in herself. Believe in others. Recognize guilt and fully understand the effects of lying. It was about never giving up and trusting instincts. Everything that an impressionable child should learn.The writing was fluid and well paced. Perfect for younger audiences (aka easy to read.) Average length. (only 178 pages – long enough to tell a good story, but short enough to keep a child interested.) And the characters were developed beautifully. (Even the horses, which each had their own personality.)My overall thought…a fantastic start to a contemporary M/G series.If you have a horse lover in the house, or a daughter just moments away from her teen years, the “Timber Ridge” girls are a just what the doctor ordered.Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: “Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.” ~Neil Postman,

  • C.P. Cabaniss
    2018-11-10 22:39

    *I received a copy of this novel through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*I really enjoyed this story. It reminded me of all of the horse reading I did when I was younger. Being an equestrian myself, I always enjoy a well written horse related read. This one fit both of those requirements nicely. The story is rather predictable for anyone who's read a lot of these types of novels, so it may not appeal to all readers. Personally I don't find that to be a negative aspect. If the story is well written and enjoyable, I will like it predictable or not. This is kind of a coming of age story. Kate has to accept things in her past that she wishes she could forget, all while dealing with her new job and snobby girls who want everything handed to them. The characters here were likable. Kate and Holly are the main characters we get to see and they become friends immediately. Angela, the brat whose mother tries to run the stable, is both easy to dislike and easy to feel bad for. When you see her with her mother it's easy to understand why she might be the way she is. At fourteen I would hope she might be able to outgrow some of that, but it's not the easiest age to overcome such things. The main thing that I found too extreme here, was the fact that everyone from Kate's old barn automatically blamed her for Magic's death. While it was a terrible occurrence, accidents do happen and treating a child so cruelly was taking things too far for me. The horse event was nicely described. A little over the top at points, but that just makes it more exciting for young readers. It was nice to see some development with the characters and where they were headed next. Overall it was an enjoyable read and I would recommend it to those who enjoy easy to read horse related stories.

  • Cathy Geha
    2018-11-14 00:46

    Keeping Secrets by Maggie DanaTimber Ridge Riders #1Thank you to the author for the copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Reading this as an adult is probably different than if I had read it at the age of say 10 or 12 and that is the audience I believe would probably enjoy this book. It is a series so there are a number of books for a younger reader who likes horses and is not quite in her teens. Kate is pretty much on her own at 14 with a deceased mother and a loving if distant father who is focused on other things. She finds a summer job working with Holly who is in a wheelchair. Both used to ride but have stopped for reasons that unfold in the book. There is mean-girl Angela and her sidekick Denise stirring up trouble for Kate and Holly. Holly’s mother is on her own and trains the Timber Ridge Riders’ Riding Club. There are encounters and a competition and ups and downs with an ending that is fine if not exactly what the reader might have been hoping for. There is a bit of interest in a boy that is about par for that age group to read about without even a kiss…just some interest and conversation.Trying to remember how I might rate this book if I were young again I looked back at the book “Cammie’ Choice” by Jane McIlvaine- a book that I have never forgotten the title of and remember reading a bit over fifty years ago. Reading the blurb about it now I found that it sounds much like Keeping Secrets so am pretty sure my 12 year old self would have loved reading “Keeping Secrets” and then wanted to read the rest of the series.5 Stars - Based on memories of my preteen self and the books she loved to read.

  • Caitlin Brast
    2018-10-20 00:55

    I do like this book. And if I had read it, like, 7-8 years ago, I probably would have adored it. It's very much of "The Saddle Club" mode- best friends, great horses, catty mean girls, cute boys. I ate Keeping Secrets up, as in, I got it, I sat down, and about an hour later, I was done. I really enjoyed the dynamic between Kate and Holly, and they did actually seem their age, which I find is harder and harder to see in books these days. All of the minor issues I have with this book are just that: minor. Angela was mean to the point of ridiculousness; even in The Saddle Club, Veronica had some characterization outside of being the mean brat. In addition, I wish the horses had a bit more character, but that's totally just the horse geek in me.All in all, this is a great book, and even as a 20 year old who read every single horse book imaginable when I was 12, I still enjoyed. Yeah, it's a little cliche, but it just slips you back into that mode of being 12 again, and dreaming of having these adventures alongside the characters.

  • Julia Nashif
    2018-11-02 18:36

    Despite saying in my review of Turning on a Dime that I probably wouldn't read more books by Maggie Dana, the premise in this one lured me in anyway.Thank you, NetGalley and Pageworks Press, for this free book to review!What I liked:1. It was an easy read. Maybe too easy.2. Liz, Holly's mom. Poor thing, she has to put up with so much.What I didn't like:1. Aren't horses supposed to have some kind of personalities? These ones sure didn't.2. For the matter, the girls didn't either. We hear Kate's dad has practically abandoned her, but it doesn't seem to have much of an effect.3. The plot twists felt so dang convenient. Something bad would happen and then be resolved on the next page.I would recommend this book to horse lovers, but especially younger ones. I know one who I might buy it for, actually. ;)

  • Linda
    2018-11-11 01:33

    A perfect middle-grade read. I was originally attracted to this book by the great cover, and the inside did not disappoint. Maggie Dana's engaging story-telling skills pull you immediately into the action, and introduce us to two very distinct but likeable characters: Kate - who is hiding a dark secret that keeps her from her one true passion - horses, and Holly, a fiesty new friend who has lost the use of her legs and is wheelchair bound, but whose spirit knows no boundaries.Add a bit of mystery about a valuable dead horse, a barn filled with jumping and dressage mounts, a team mate who'll stop at nothing to win, and the thrill of competition and you get a story that horse-loving girls are going to be crazy about. Highly recommended.

  • Erin Lindsay McCabe
    2018-11-12 20:58

    This is an entertaining novel perfect for younger kids, especially horse crazy girls. I love the positive friendship that is portrayed between protagonist Kate and Holly, the wheelchair-bound girl for whom Kate works as a companion. Especially noteworthy is Holly's positive attitude, despite the fact that she has every reason to be negative and the Nigel's take on the importance of honesty and integrity.You can real my full review for here:*I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review*

  • Emma Rose Ribbons
    2018-11-19 22:37

    This is an okay book. It lacks depth and my main concern with it was the shallow and stereotypical characterization. Besides, there wasn't enough horse content to keep me interested - by the end, I barely knew anything of the horse Kate was riding and I like a lot more horse/rider contact in my fiction. From what I can read of the next books, they follow the exact same pattern so I won't be purchasing the other titles. It's a shame, really, for I was excited to begin a series in which one of the main characters is disabled (this doesn't last, though, as you can probably imagine).

  • Kim
    2018-10-31 18:54

    The plot was very good. But it was lacking something..... I'm still not sure what that something is but I am excited about reading the second book soon. I loved the three day eventing featured in the book. But it lacked that competitive feel. Yeah Angela was a b-word but it's usually between barns.

  • Amy
    2018-11-02 01:35

    I really enjoyed Keeping Secrets. I love the fun characters, drama, setting, and of course, the horses. A great start to the Timber Ridge Riders series. I look forward to reading more about the girls in the series and more by this author. Five stars

  • Ian Wood
    2018-11-17 22:35

    This is the complete review as it appears at my blog dedicated to reading, writing (no 'rithmatic!), movies, & TV. Blog reviews often contain links which are not reproduced here, nor will updates or modifications to the blog review be replicated here. Graphic and children's reviews on the blog typically feature two or three images from the book's interior, which are not reproduced here.Note that I don't really do stars. To me a book is either worth reading or it isn't. I can't rate it three-fifths worth reading! The only reason I've relented and started putting stars up there is to credit the good ones, which were being unfairly uncredited. So, all you'll ever see from me is a five-star or a one-star (since no stars isn't a rating, unfortunately).I rated this book WORTHY!WARNING! MAY CONTAIN UNHIDDEN SPOILERS! PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK!I'm not a big fan of series, so this one looked like a potentially problematic novel to begin with since it’s book one of the 'Timber Ridge Riders' series which was once a series called 'Best Friends', but I am a fan of an engaging and well-written story, and the author took away my fear right from page one. Knock-out Punch! That's the way to do it!If I could patent and sell what it is which draws me immediately to one story, or if I could invent a spray to remove what it is which leaves me cold about another, I’d probably be a quintillionaire by now. As it is, I'm only an Ian-aire! Whatever it is, this story has it, because I felt quite at home.This just goes to show that you can get me to read anything you like if you can find a way to draw me in. I don't care what age range it’s aimed at, or what gender. I don't care what the story is about, just give me a reason to read it! Make me want to turn the next page and I'm yours, shamelessly yours! One thing I can say helped in this case is that this isn't a first person PoV novel. 1PoV is something which I normally detest, so mega-kudos (or is that Maggie-Kudos?!) to the author for that.Maggie Dana seems to be making a career out of writing middle grade equestrian epics, and what young girl doesn't want to read a story about horses? I have no idea, but that's what this story revolves around even though it’s actually about people. Kate McGregor applies for a job as companion and helper to Holly Chapman. The latter is wheel-chair bound (or is she?!), and Kate's only just turned fourteen. She has no experience, but Liz (Holly's mom) is getting desperate, and Holly and Kate take to each other immediately. Liz's mom decides it would be good for her to have someone her own age around, and so Kate is hired, she and Holly become room-mates so Kate doesn't have to commute, and the adventure begins!You know there's a fly in the ointment - in this case, a horse-fly(!). Or more accurately, several of them. The Chapmans are only guests in their home, which is owned by the association which hired Liz to train riders. It used to be about fun, but now it’s about winning a competition at all costs, and if Liz doesn’t deliver a victory, she's out of a job and she and Holly are out of their home.As for Kate, she fakes a fear of horses not because she's hippophobic (scared of horses, not hippos!), but because she carries a huge weight of guilt. She believes she's responsible for the death of her own horse, Black Magic. Worse than this (if that's possible) she makes an enemy of Angela Dean, the daughter of the main pain in Liz's life. Angela is a spoiled trouble-maker and, I have to say, rather a caricature. One almost expects her to twiddle her waxed mustaches as she cackles.So we know up front that Kate is going to overcome her phake phobia, and that the real reason for her refusal to get back on the horse is going to be resolved and she'll be vindicated. We suspect that Holly will regain the use of her legs since it’s psychological. We know that Angela will be bested, and Kate triumphant in some competition or other. There's no mystery here. The only mystery is how the author is going to extricate her main character from the roadblocks with which she's hemmed Kate in. The answer is: it’s nicely done!There is, unfortunately, a boy blip on the horizon. When I first encountered this I felt a faint twinge of nausea. Is this going to be yet another novel for young women where the reader is made to feel like she's only of worth when she has a guy to validate her existence? I was hoping he'd turn out to be gay and they become fast friends, but given the milieu, it was highly doubtful the author would take us there; plus the gay best friend motif is rather a cliché now. OTOH, if you take the tack(!) that he's the only guy in a field of girls, then to make him straight would pay against cliché, so what you lose on the swing, you gain the horse-ridden carousel!The writing, in general, was par for the course. Not brilliant but eminently readable, and the writer evidently knows her stuff when it comes to horse-riding, care, and competition (not that I'm any kind of an expert!). There were some instances of "Say, what?" however, such as towards the end of chapter eleven where in one paragraph we're told that Denise racked up thirty faults (on a "cross country") for, in part, being too slow and then immediately in the very next paragraph, we’re told that it’s "not a race"! Either speed counts or it doesn’t. It may not be a race per se, but it is a race against the clock, and it seemed really odd to talk about being faulted for slowness and then having an instant avowal that coming in fast won't garner you any points. Yes, technically, in a deductive scoring system you're not earning points, but if you're too slow, you are going to lose them, so speed is of the essence. That just seemed like poorly-worded writing to me.Another issue was with Kate's mantra that it’s about horse-girl-ship (not horsemanship, surely?!) and fun. We hear an oft-asserted claim that competition isn't important, but then we seem to find that everything is focused on Kate winning competition and triumphing over Angela. There's way too much competition in society, particularly in the US, so while I did like this story and wouldn't mind reading another installment of Kate's adventures, I also hoped that further episodes wouldn't be all about competing and winning. I hoped there would be far more to this world and these characters than that.It wasn't all smooth sailing (or riding). One really big annoyance is that this novel was very aptly named. Allow me to explain that! Angela Dean turned out to be Angela Demon and was depicted increasingly in such extreme measures that she really did become a caricature fit better for the Cartoon Network than for an intelligent novel. Maybe the intended audience likes this kind of thing (which would be rather sad), but that doesn't mean a writer can’t elevate her readership and bring them up to something better, more nuanced, and actually realistic. Life is very rarely this harsh a contrast between midnight black and angelic white.That was bad enough of itself, but what was actually worse was keeping secrets - that is, of Kate's passive enabling of Angela's atrociously abusive behavior, by not telling on her. Bullying is not acceptable, and as long as we teach young people via stories like this that bullies should never be brought to book, should never be called out on their behavior, should never be reported, then we're no better than the bullies because we’re saying it’s OK, and we're happy to facilitate acting-out and deliberate sabotage. IT'S NOT OK! It's never OK, not even in a novel, unless you have some higher purpose in allowing a character to temporarily get away with it - and it had better be a much higher purpose!Another issues was with the horses, which were supposedly loved but which were not treated very well. Horses don't naturally choose to make crazy jumps over high obstacles unless they're frightened or panicked, yet these purported horse-lovers were making them jump and race, and risking injury not only to the horses, but also to the riders. If you're willing to put that aside, then there's entertainment to be had here.

  • Mackenzie
    2018-11-10 01:39

    Predictable. That's all I can say about this book. It's like every horse book in the universe. Girl has an accident and decides to never ride again, one horse brings back her memory, accident forces her to ride again, falls in love with some random horse. It's so predictable and you can tell what's going to happen next. Holly wasn't even really a character, she was mainly just a side person to encourage the riders on. It was an okay book, but I have read better.

  • Rebecca
    2018-11-03 20:40

    Nice horse YA. I liked the MC and her friend.

  • Gmr
    2018-10-21 18:48

    Filled with quite a few devious acts on the part of SOMEONE or other that apparently can’t grasped right from wrong…certainly doesn’t help that their Mother doesn’t know this basic lesson either...whoever said the Middle Grade reads lack the energy and edge-of-your-seat pull you get from stories written for an older audience, should really think again. Our main events center around Timber Ridge Stables, home of tranquil paths through beautiful woodlands and an award winning riding team currently lead by Ms. Chapman. She seeks to instill a love of horses and of riding in those she coaches but the powers that be are looking for a heavier hand. They aren’t satisfied with merely placing in the competitions, they want to be number one….regardless of the riders enjoyment, lessons they learn or whomever thinks they can be a shining star. It’s less about play and more about the prestige which as you can probably guess is a recipe for disaster. Ms. Chapman takes it in stride even when things begin to spiral out of control and I really admire the kind heart she shows even to those you’d really like to just go all out ninja on. Now, for the rest of our featured cast…I found myself rooting for Kate time and again as she struggled to balance her outward persona with the guilt and blame she carried within. The cause of this heavy burden? A death at her previous riding school for which all blame fell to her. Was it her fault? Mums the word on that one but whether or not she was 100% guilty, the way the owners handled things? She’s only 14 for crying out loud, a mere child…accidents happen, people make mistakes. Yes, the consequences were dire, but my goodness…check things out fully before attacking people and take some blame yourself for not following up on your workers ESPECIALLY when they are children! Moving forward…Holly is a spitfire whom I loved every bit as much as Kate. She’s stubborn, doesn’t let a thing stop her, and fights for what’s right even when others lack the needed backbone to do it themselves….in short, a great friend. Now for Angela Dean....she is a product of her upbringing, sad to be so cliché but it’s true. Her Mother is an upstanding citizen in the community and owns the resort/ranch featured here…read into that a snooty woman who thinks she’s above EVERYONE and deserves the best of EVERYTHING regardless of whom she steps on in the process. Guess what? She wants that for her daughter too. She's more than happy to take up the reins as she tries out for “Queen B of the Year” but underneath all the tennis sweaters, lack of cooperation, ugliness in words and actions ….yes, miles below the surface, I think she might have a glimmer of hope still. She prides herself on her image and the company she keeps but most of it stems from a craving for attention from the one that should be giving it unconditionally (aka Mom). She’ll do whatever she needs to remain in the spotlight, even if it means bending the rules or much worse. I think she had a little “ah-ha” moment at the end of this story with Kate at the competition….but we'll have to see what happens in the coming books.A story full of heart for readers of all ages that explores the connections we have with animals as well as each other. Horse lovers will delight in the interactions with their equine counterparts as well as the “stable talk” while those with merely a passing fancy will find a home in the adventure of the story itself. The ups and downs, secrets kept and revealed, plotting and planning will keep you guessing just what will happen next while the final scenes will keep you coming back for more. We all want to be the best, but there can only be ONE “number one”. Perhaps instead of focusing on that lack of a blue ribbon, it is better still to strive for being the best version of ourselves we can be; it’s certainly a peaceful prospect and allows a lot more light and mirth to occupy our days than hard feelings and deceit. A lesson shared and something to think about… *review copy received in exchange for my honest review

  • DelAnne Frazee
    2018-11-11 20:40

    Title: Keeping Secrets - Timber Ridge Riders Book 1Author: Maggie DanaPublished: 11-18-2011 Publisher: Pageworks Press Pages: 178 Genre: Children's Fiction Sub Genre: Sports; Horses ISBN: 13: 9780985150402 ASIN: B0069E39NG Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalleyRating: 4.75 Stars I received a copy of "Keeping Secrets" from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.Description From The Publishers:A valuable horse is dead, and it’s all her fault, which is why 14-year-old Kate McGregor has banished horses and riding from her life—forever! But her new summer job as a companion to Holly Chapman, a former riding star who’s now confined to a wheelchair, takes her back to the barn—the last place Kate wants to be. Can Kate keep her terrible secret from Holly, who is fast becoming her best friend? And, more important, can she keep her secret from Angela Dean, a teenage bully who lives for only two things: winning ribbons and causing trouble? Kate manages to keep her secret hidden until an accident forces it into the open ... and it's just the moment Angela has been waiting for.My Review Of "Keeping Secrets"A story that explores the world of equine showing and jumping. There is the requisite of mean rich girl and the poor girl with heart of gold. The characters of Kate, Holly and Angela are well developed and the writer has made them in such a way as they evoke the emotion in the reader that she desired. Now that the cliche's are out of the way lets discuss the plot. It is well planned out and believable. From the opening lines to the closing paragraph this book ensnares the reader holds them tight and allows them to join the characters as the flow from scene to scene. My rating of this fast paced story is 4.5 out of 5 stars. I recommend "Keeping Secrets" to any horse lover,but it is also a good read for anyone who enjoys a quick read filled with friendship, hope and dreams.Amazon link: and Noble link: link: The Reading Room link:

  • Sally
    2018-11-07 00:40

    Sometimes you just need a nice, quick read, and this fitted the bill perfectly. Holly's in a wheelchair and her mother hires Kate to act as her companion/helper for the summer. They live beside a riding school where Holly's mother works, which is a nightmare for Kate who was wrongly accused of allowing a horse to die at her previous stable. So she pretends she's scared of horses and refuses to go near them, but of course it all comes out when she needs to get help quickly for an injured rider, and by horse is quicker than by foot.There's a wonderfully horrible villain by the name of Angela, who is hell-bent on winning at all costs and tries every trick in the book to keep Kate from joining their competition team - from blackmail to sabotage: of her stall (losing her cleanliness points), of the cross-country route (removing markers to get Kate lost) and even of Kate's saddle (causing her to lose a stirrup mid-jump). It's all very fun and Saddle Club-esque, I wouldn't mind reading more in the series. Angela needs to get her comeuppance one day! (view spoiler)[I was surprised when she and Kate were the top two riders - I thought it would be Kate and the boy from Larchwood (Adam? I can't remember now). Very sad outcome where Kate withdrew from the last round to let Angela take first place, because she was wrongly concerned that Angela's mother might make Holly's mother lose her job.) (hide spoiler)]

  • Mary Pagones
    2018-11-01 00:36

    Since I've had many twenty-first birthdays, I'm late to the Timber Ridge Riders party...but I wish I had come sooner! Even though this book's target audience is middle-schoolers, readers of any age will fall in love with these characters. Kate and Holly are such wonderful, complex, different personalities. Kate is a fearless rider but she's much more shy and inclined to blame herself when things go wrong, even when it's obvious to the rest of the world that it's not her fault. Holly has a much more resilient streak. Despite the fact Holly has survived a horrific car crash that has taken away her ability to walk, she is still optimistic about her ability to ride in the future. I really liked the fact that there was a character with a disability but the disability wasn't the main focus of the story, it was just part of Holly's life that she accepted but refused to see as an obstacle to enjoying her love of horses. Like other readers have noted, I liked the fact that Angela, the stable's resident mean girl, wasn't redeemed at the end. Angela is still awful but Kate has still learned important lessons about not being daunted by the obstacles in her path and the fact that blue ribbons don't measure her worth as a rider and a human being.This is a great book for any reader who loves horses and strong female heroines!

  • Barbara Ann
    2018-11-05 02:29

    First in a series of books featuring young teens and their love of horses. Kate is fourteen and spending her summer with her aunt because her father is a lepidopterist who is busy chasing butterflies in Brazil. Looking for something to keep her occupied, Kate applies for a summer job as a companion for a teen named Holly. Holly is now wheelchair bound as a result of a horseback riding accident.Kate has a dark secret. She was blamed for the death of a horse in her care. Now she is petrified to go near a horse stall. Holly’s mom gives riding lessons and coaches an equestrian team. Kate hopes to steer clear of the barn, but she is gradually drawn to it. She must overcome the bullying of Angela, a spoiled brat whose wealthy mother accepts nothing less than first place. Quite a few shenanigans involved in the plot. Dana succeeds in making the reader identify with her characters. The love of horses and its power on the main characters are carefully woven into the plot. Just a hint of romance with the introduction of a young teen male character.This story is just under two hundred pages with vocabulary and plot lines that are suitable for readers age nine and older. The book is well-written with a nice mix of descriptive language and dialogue. Teachers might break the book up into chapters for read aloud and class discussion.

  • Laurie Cameron
    2018-11-16 22:54

    When Kate applies for the job of helpmate for wheelchair-bound Holly who lives at the Timber Ridge Stables with her mother, she has no intention of going near the stables, much less riding one of the horses. She was through with that, ever since the terrible tragedy at Sandpiper Stables where she used to ride. A beautiful horse named Black Magic had died due to her carelessness and she could never forgive herself for that.But then there is an accident on the trail involving the beautiful Magician, a horse that reminds Kate so much of Black Magic it hurts. The girls need help—and fast—and the quickest way to get it is to hop on Magician’s back. Unfortunately, Angela, the spiteful daughter of the stable owner, has seen her ride and learns of her deception. Angela's dislike of Kate deepens and she will do whatever it takes to knock her off that saddle.This first book in the Timber Ridge Rider series, is a delight to read, full of action and drama. The characters, both the lovable and the not so lovable, are true to life. You don’t have to love horses to love this book. I recommend it to all middle grade readers.

  • Natalie
    2018-11-12 21:57

    Like so many YA horse books, Keeping Secrets is about the friendships and rivalries that horsey girls make. Who were your truest friends and your most formidable enemies when you were growing up? Not the kids at school; they were just an annoyance you had to put with for the purpose of getting through lunch and those dreary group homework assignments. Life, and laughter, and all-out war, resided firmly at the barn.The twists in Keeping Secrets are unique, though. Holly, the riding instructor’s daughter, is wheelchair-bound. Kate, looking for a place to stay while her father is off chasing butterflies for science, has already sworn off horses. This isn’t going to be The Saddle Club, then. These girls aren’t going to bond over trail rides and campfires.It turns out, you can bond over other things. Sometimes you just meet someone and you’re destined to be best friends. Nervous, haunted Kate and witty, tough Holly are the perfect couple.Fast-paced, clever, and impeccably accurate, "Keeping Secrets" had me glued to my computer. An absolute must-read whether you're thirteen or thirty (and can you guess which one I am?)Full review at!

  • Connie
    2018-11-20 00:43

    When a book is nominated to be on Amazon's new Prime reading program, you know you have to check it out."Keeping Secrets" is the first book in Maggie Dana's Timber Ridge Rider series geared to young adults. Filled with teen angst,Keeping Secrets sets the stage for those many life lessons that allow its main character, Kate McGregor, to come of age. She blames herself for the death of a prize show horse and has sworn never to ride again. Ever!Enter the need for a summer job and a place to live and Kate finds herself right back where she doesn't want to be...on a horse farm populated by the quintessential mean girls. For any horse crazed reader, Dana books are sure to give a healthy dose of horse and life lessons.Tightly constructed and well-written, the Timber Ridge Riders series should be on every young reader's list.

  • Alyazia
    2018-10-27 00:52

    The book is a very interesting story that you can find in any young adult story I love it a lot because of the love of horses. I think that this novel or series is really has good explanation and also seems the writer know s about horses as she actually knows what she is writing about. The style of her writing is really good she explains every character in the book. I am giving 5 stars because I think the author explains the riding in a good way and give a lot details of everything and the story is not boring for me at all its not like I want to sleep in the middle of book. I recommend this books for anyone who loves horses, sense of adventure. And is 14 years old and above even at my age I definitely enjoyed and that is 19 years old

  • Eva Schon
    2018-11-01 20:57

    Author: Maggie DanaGenre: TweenMy rating on a 1 – 10 scale: 8Type: FictionTime Period: ModernMain Characters: Kate, Holly, AngelaMy Review: Kate Macgregor feels responsible for the death of a beautiful sports horse. When her new job includes horses, she panics. She doesn’t want anyone to know her secret but she confides to her best friend, Holly, who was disabled in a driving accident. When Angela finds out, what will Kate do? My Overall Opinion: I really enjoyed reading this book. It has twists and turns and surprises throughout. I would highly recommend this to horse crazy girls, or anyone who likes a fast paced story with a good plot.

  • Jenny Rose
    2018-11-01 00:41

    Keeping Secrets by Maggie Dana is about a 14 year-old named Kate McGregor who is trying to avoid her past and her Aunt Marion by getting a summer job. Unfortunately that job means having to deal with her past instead of ignoring it.If you know a girl aged 8-12 who is crazy about horses, this book is definitely for her. Kate has to deal with all the typical things girls this age face—bullies, truth and lies, trust, and emotional roller coasters. Even as an adult I found myself laughing and crying.*Note: there is one language issue toward the end. Anyone sensitive to this may want to preview before handing it off.