Centaur Rising is a middle grade to young adult novel by Jane Yolen. Arianne has always wished for magic in her life, a meteor shower and some team work might just make that reality. During the Perseid meteor shower, Arianne thinks she sees a shooting star land in the fields surrounding her family’s horse farm. About a year later, one of their horses gives birth to a baby centaur. The family wants to protect the young boy and has had enough attention already. Arianne’s six-year-old brother was born with birth defects caused by an experimental drug, and their rock-star father has deserted them. They do not want the limelight, but soon the horse farm’s clients growing suspicious. How long can they keep their secret and everyone safe? What will happen if the world learns about the miracle on the farm?
Centaur Rising keeps with the record of Yolan never disappointing me. I really enjoyed the characters, the setting, and the premise. Arianne is a girl that has grown up faster than she should, and is still both compassionate and weary. Her father left the family when her younger brother was born with birth defects. Her outlook was realistic with still a wistful hope for magic and better things. I loved her younger brother’s determination and resilience, and her mothers efforts to protect them both. I will say that my favorite character is still Martha, a employee that is more of a family member on the horse farm. I think that the description of the centaur foal and his development was key to the story. It kept the wonder of his very existence, but also dealt with the practicalities and truth that made him much more human and real than most people here in reality, This is much more than a fantasy, more than a coming of age story, this is a look at how real people facing extraordinary circumstances still have to keep moving forward and dealing with the minute details that are often left out of books and television. I also have to say that I got a bit of a kick out of the fact that the farm where this all takes place just happens to be right here in Connecticut.
I really enjoyed Centaur Rising. Yolan, as usual, brings her characters to life. She leaves readers with a feeling that this family, this farm, could really be out there somewhere. Her characters are so real. Like in real life, there are funny moments, moments that make you want to scream, and moments that make it all worth while.
I gave this book 4 stars in my review, which was previously published on Sharon the Librarian and Goodreads.