Release Date: March 8, 2011
More Info: Amazon
Series: #1 of Into The West; also part of Echelon's Electric Shorts Series
Tina Harker is a typical teenager. She loves hanging with her friends at the malls, shoes, and manicures. More than that, she loves horses. Life is everything she wants it to be, until her father packs their family up and drags them across the world to Arizona. Does he really think she'll be happy living in a ghost town in the middle of the desert? It's a million miles to the nearest shopping center, not even a real mall. Her only hope for survival is finding a new horse.
Trying to make the best of her horrible situation, Tina agrees to go on her first cattle drive. When one of the calves wanders off, Tina, in true cowgirl fashion and looking for excitement, rides off to rescue the poor little thing and gets a lot more adventure than she ever expected. A cowboy she's never met accuses her of stealing cows, bandits kidnap her, and that's not even the exciting part.
JA Campbell was a guest here on her release day for this story, talking about the new series. I was intrigued by the concept of the digital short stories to lure in new readers and wanted to give her story a try. And I am a sucker for horses. My sister and I had a horse when we were teens and I grew up reading horse stories.
This was a quick, enjoyable read that kept me engaged. I'm looking forward to the rest of her shorts (#2, Range Feud, is already on my Kindle) that will be released (and she has a novel later this summer). I was a bit skeptical about the wild-wild-west theme, mainly because it's not what I typically read, but I was happily surprised.I grew up in a smallish town so I could still feel for Tina's predicament as she adjusted.
It's not a long read, but there's lots going on and it's a nice mix of the predictable and the unpredictable. Campbell blends teen angst (but not too much!), western life and a hint of the supernatural and successfully pulls the reader into the story and keeps the momentum going. She doesn't forget the characters though and I look forward to seeing more of them.
Will teens and young readers enjoy this story? I think so. Tina and her BFF Jessica feel real, Campbell is respectful and doesn't talk down to her readers and the story is fun and interesting.