Pell Ridley does not want to marry the “boy next door”, the boy she has known all of her life and who could offer her security. So, on the day that should have been her wedding day she sneaks out of the house and runs away. She takes her grey horse Jack with her and her mute adopted brother, Bean, decides to join her.
Life from the outset is hard. Her father is a preacher and a drunkard. He built their house but not very well; it is crooked. Her mother is weary from years of child-bearing and hard work. Pell also works hard and knows her way around horses.
It all becomes harder as she looks for work and mainly fails to get it. She has much bad luck and becomes almost tragic: the negative comes as a result of her own actions, such as when Bean, Jack and her money go missing. When she does finally find a dream of a job she has give it up because she must find missing Bean.
There is resolution of sorts when what is left of her family is reconciled and Bean is homed well elsewhere. Her choice of future living arrangements may surprise us.
There is no explicit sex, nor romance, but we are left with the impression that she and the poacher share a bed. That and the fact that the novel portrays a hard life make it suitable for young adults as well as teens.
It is 185 pages long, with smallish blocked print and an adult font.