A Cowboy’s Sweetheart (Rodeo Academy #1)

Young Adult

Kensington Pope has been shipped off to her aunt's ranch in Wyoming for the summer by her New York socialite parents after getting into trouble at home. Determined to get back to the city, Kensi hatches a plan for an escape after her dressage competition in six weeks.  From the moment Javier meets Kensi, he is sure she is nothing more than a spoiled princess and is determined to avoid her.  He keeps her at arm’s length, staying busy preparing for his brothers to come live with him, but the more Javier sees Kensi with her guard down he begins to think his first impression was wrong.  As her competition date draws near, Kensi is not so sure of her plan and wonders if by some miracle the ranch and a certain cowboy have made a place in her heart for good.

“A Cowboy’s Sweetheart” is an endearing story of how family and friendship can change someone’s heart and life for the better.  Ms. McHugh develops a great "love to hate her" character in Kensi and takes the reader on a rollercoaster of emotions with her.  The relationship between Javier and Kensi drives the story, and even if the ending is rather clear, the ride is an enjoyable one.  The problem comes when the two must deal with issues beyond their age and do not speak or think like teenagers, resulting in slightly unbelievable characters.  In addition, the shaming and bullying of Kensi is never addressed or apologized for, which gives a bad example of how to treat others.  Overall, if one is looking for a cute romance, filled with horses and cowboys, this will not disappoint.     

Amy Cefoldo