Jul 17, 2011

Review: The A Circuit by Georgina Bloomberg & Catherina Hapka

Title: The A Circuit
Author: Georgina Bloomberg & Catherine Hapka
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books
Publication Date: 5.24.2011
Pages: 272
Genre: Contemporary, Sports
Series:  Yes (The A Circuit #1)

Rating: C+

Summary (from Goodreads):
The A Circuit is the top of the top when it comes to horse shows. It's a world with its own rules and superprivileged lifestyles. Teens travel the circuit all year, showing horses that cost as much as some homes.

Tommi, Kate, and Zara are all elite competitors on the circuit, but they come from totally different backgrounds. Tommi is a billionaire heiress trying to prove she has real talent (not just deep bank accounts). Kate puts the working in working student—every win has been paid for with hours of cleaning stalls. She's used to the grueling schedule, but Fitz, the barn's resident hot guy, is about to become a major distraction. And then there's Zara. She's the wild child of a famous rockstar, but she's ready to take riding seriously. Can a party girl really change her ways?

Readers who enjoy peeking into the elite world of Gossip Girl or The A-List will feel right at home in this new series with its friendships, drama, and privilege set against the backdrop of competitive horseback riding.

Allow me to begin by saying horse lovers will thoroughly enjoy this book. It’s a fun, light read and Catherine Hapka and Georgina Bloomberg truly immerse the reader in the world of competitive equestrian riding with charming characters that sparkle on the pages. Unfortunately, if you are a reader who doesn’t know much about horses or equestrian, I think this book will be a tough sell.

Hapka and Bloomberg throw equestrian jargon around with alarming frequency and do not always take the time to explain what things are. Some people might be confused by what “tack” is. Or where exactly a horse’s withers are and what posting is. Luckily I grew up owning horses and had a good friend who excelled in jumping and showing thoroughbreds, otherwise I might have felt quite a bit lost. I also believe this is where they will lose readers. This book really reads like Gossip Girl with horses, but unless you are a horse enthusiast or fan it doesn’t work. The quirky character traits that made Gossip Girl work fall flat here.

While the book was a breeze to read, by the end of it I felt hardly anything for the characters. I felt like I barely got to know them past the superficial level. I get that Kate and Tommi are best friends at the barn and occasionally hang out, but what makes them friends other than a strong love of horses? Take horses out of this book and it’s simply a bunch of kids standing around. I loved the horses more than I loved the main characters by the end. Like Zara—I understand the authors trying to vilify her, but to what end? She is a weak villain and a worthless friend. She irritated me to no end, and the small steps taken to make me like her meant nothing because she was such a whiny brat for all but the last two chapters.

This book isn’t a bad read. I’d recommend you snag it from the library if you want something mindless and unchallenging to read. If you love horses? Go buy it. You won’t be sorry. I just believe the writers have boxed themselves in by focusing so heavily on the horses that they lost sight of the characters. I hope they rectify that issue in the next book.


  1. I love horses, but I'm not sure I could fall into this book given the hangups. It does sound like a fun mindless read, though, and it's nice to see something a bit different.

  2. I felt like the waited the whole book for the drama/action to start and it just never materialized. Sigh.

  3. This is somewhat like George's real life...she is Tommi, Kate could be just about anyone on the Grand Prix circuit, and Zara is most likely fashioned after Jess Springsteen...anyone who knows George can appreciate more depth in these characters. I thought much of the proceeds were to benefit one of her charities (Rider's Closet maybe)...and to that I give her kudos for venturing outside her comfort zone to benefit others. Little horsey girls (pre-teen/teen) will LOVE this book.

  4. I love horses but I don't know much about them and I think I would get totally lost trying to read this story. But great review anyways!


  6. This book as been on my to be read pile of book for a while now. Will have to move it up on the list. Great review!


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