Review: Heartbreak Trail

Once again, my review book is for the kids rather than for me. I snatch just about everything I can for my voracious young readers! And, we’re back to Andrea Carter and the Circle C Ranch with book two of Susan K. Marlow’s Circle C Milestones series.

In the Circle C Milestones series, Andi is growing up. That maturity reveals itself greatly in Heartbreak Trail. As Andi’s fifteenth birthday approaches, she has no interest in the feminine quinceañera that typically accompanies the coming of age of a young girl in Andi’s community. Instead, her one desire is to join her brothers on the annual cattle drive. When she miraculously gets her wish, however, Andi quickly discovers that a cattle drive is not quite the type of excitement she’d always imagined.

I have a little difficulty reviewing Heartbreak Trail. Because Andi is growing up, my 9-year-old son, the one who enjoys the Circle C series the most, is losing interest in Andi’s story. (She is a girl, after all.)And although my 12-year-old daughter typically devours every book in sight and will read Heartbreak Trail, it’s not really her favorite genre. My 14-year-old has never really gotten into the series at all.

The book is labeled as young adult fiction, which really puts it in the 14-18 age range. In all honesty, though, I would only hand this to a 14-16 year old who really needs to be pushed to read. For a more solid reader – even an average reader, I’d keep Heartbreak Trail in the 8-14 range. But, I can see it also being a fun family read-aloud for a much wider age range. Joining as a family in a story like this makes it much more fun and effective!

Now, having all of that behind me, let me say this: I really like the story in Heartbreak Trail. Andi has to learn to swallow her pride and admit she’s been wrong. But, she also has to learn to stick with her commitment and persevere when times get challenging. Very challenging. The lessons she learns are such beneficial lessons, and are often much more easily impressed on a child or teen when presented in story form than when simply instructed.

Bottom Line: I really enjoy the Circle C stories. I don’t see the Circle C Milestones as fitting into the young adult age range unless they are used as a family read-aloud. But, this is a book I’d be highly inclined to find a place for, if only to teach the character lessons.


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