"All it takes is 8 seconds..." started the Barnes and Noble book review for Bull Rider by Suzanne Morgan Williams (Lexile: 650, Interest Level: Grades 3-6). I understood that reference to the rodeo, but I didn't realize it also meant "...to get hooked into this book." Wow!
Cam O'Mara's family owns and runs a ranch in Utah. And his grandfather, father, and older brother were all participants in the rodeo. Fourteen-year-old Cam, however, prefers skateboarding. But when Cam's brother Ben comes back from Iraq with severe injuries, Cam is prodded into trying bull-riding, and gets hooked on the adrenaline rush. Although there is a lot of rodeo and sport in this book , the main story is about Cam trying to help his brother Ben come back from a depression caused by his experiences in Iraq. In a rash move, Cam makes a bet with his brother that if he rides Ugly, a bull so tough that no one has ever ridden him, Ben will start trying to do what he can to move on and recover from his injuries. To ride Ugly, Cam needs the support of his best friends, his grandparents, and a mysterious stranger in the stands; and he has to break a few rules. Will it be worth it? Will the scheme work? Give this book a try for some real heart-wrenching, gut-twisting, adrenaline-pumping action!
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.