Contemporary Fiction Middle Grade Mysteries

Book Tour Review: The Wild Path by Sarah R. Baughman

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tours for having me on the tour for The Wild path!! I will share the synopsis, a quick review, and my favorite quotes from the book mixed in!. I will start by saying that this book has a huge 5 star 🐴🐴🐴🐴🐴❤❤❤❤❤🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating from me as a horse person, it’s timely and perfect.

Here is the synopsis:

The Line Tender meets The Secret Horses of Briar Hill in this hopeful, heartfelt story about one girl’s search for legendary horses and her quest to piece her family back together.

Twelve-year-old Claire Barton doesn’t like the “flutter feeling” that fills her chest when she worries about the future, but she knows what she loves: the land that’s been in her family for three generations; her best friend Maya; her family’s horses, Sunny and Sam; and her older brother Andy. That’s why, with Andy recently sent to rehab after a DUI, and her parents planning to sell the horses, Claire’s world feels like it might flutter to pieces.

When Claire learns about equine therapy, she imagines a less lonely future that keeps her family together, brother and horses included. But, when she finds mysterious wild horses in the woods behind her house, she realizes she has a bit more company than she bargained for. With this new secret-and a little bit of luck-Claire will discover the beauty of change, the power of family, and the strength within herself.

I was so thrilled to be included on this tour! I grew up with horses and so many times throughout my life have been ‘saved’ by them.  Whether that is from anxiety, or just having a continuing purpose, or actually being lost in the woods, I could always rely on a few good horses to get me home.

Claire is a 12 year old girl who lives in Vermont with her parents and two horses.  Her brother is a recovering addict and the family’s only choice seems to be to sell the horses, as they are not cheap and the center has drained their finances.  Claire’s own anxiety is put to the test as her future with the animals is threatened.

Over my head, the sky cracks open and raindrops begin to lightly fall.  They make curtains between the trees and suddenly everything hides behind little white stars

The book feels like a bit of a love letter to the north country as well.  The crisp air, changing leaves, footing on the ground, and setting in general are so well described.  I really loved Baughman’s prose and descriptions throughout the book.

Listen to how Claire describes her “flutter feeling:”

The sparrows that soar over our barn can actually fly to the tops of clouds, then plunge back to Earth.  And that’s exactly what my flutter feeling is like: it sweeps in from a place beyond me and gets under my skin, shaky as wings

The sensitive topics in the book are handled so, so, so age appropriately for middle grade.  I honestly think lots of kids (and adults) will read these passages and be able to relate.  Claire is actually a great friend and conversationalist too once she starts trusting someone.  The equine therapy helped her own confidence in leaps and bounds as soon as she started with a new friend.

How does she feel about her brother’s actions?  Claire is part of a support group for young people affected by addiction, and forming her world view and thoughts and acceptance of her brother’s problems is a huge part of the book.

“So she’ll need to work on staying healthy, like, forever?”

“I guess…but you say that like it’s a bad thing.  Everyone has to work on stuff, don’t you?”

Claire has to realize that some things aren’t so black and white, and i think she has a great character arc with her new friends.

And the descriptions of horses, tack, and riding are truly ones that riders will feel through their bones.  Non riders should be able to follow along too just fine!

This is overally a really great, quick read, and I think young readers everywhere should give it a go.  Claire’s struggles are so tastefully done and heart felt and I really think that young readers will be able to take a lot of good messages from it, such as how other people’s actions aren’t their fault, taking time for themselves, and self care.

We all have to walk this path together.   It may or may not look the way we expected 

Here is the link to the rest of the tour schedule, I hope you will check out the irher hosts!!

Book Links:
Barnes and Noble:
Book Depository:

Author Info and Links


About the Author:
Sarah R. Baughman is an author whose debut middle grade novel, THE LIGHT IN THE LAKE, is forthcoming from Little, Brown Books For Young Readers in 2019. A former middle and high school English teacher currently working as an educational consultant, Sarah graduated from Grinnell
College and the University of Michigan, where she studied English, German, and Education. Sarah is represented by Katie Grimm at Don Congdon Associates. When she’s not writing, she’s probably reading, running, or getting outdoors with her family

Author Links:

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