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Cover image for Another kind of cowboy
Another kind of cowboy


1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperTeen, ©2007.
Physical Description:
344 pages ; 19 cm
In Vancouver, British Columbia, two teenage dressage riders, one a spoiled rich girl and the other a closeted gay sixteen-year-old boy, come to terms with their identities and learn to accept themselves.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.0 9.0 119755.

Reading Counts RC High School 4.7 16 Quiz: 43258.


Call Number

On Order



For Alex Ford, dressage is an oasis. In the stable, he can slip into his riding pants, shed the macho cowboy image, and feel like himself for a change.

For Cleo O'Shea, dressage is a fresh start. She's got a new boarding school, absentee parents, and, best of all, no one to remember her past. . . .

They're an unlikely pair. Cleo's looking for love, but Alex has a secret he's not ready to give up, and a flirtation with Cleo is the last thing on his mind. But you can't find romance before you know real friendship, and sometimes the last person you'd ever think of as a friend ends up being the one you need the most.

Susan Juby's trademark humor brings life and laughter to this remarkable story of relationships, mixed signals, and the soul-searching that sometimes takes two.

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8-10-Alex Ford has always wanted a horse but never expected that his father would win one in a poker game. Turnip is definitely not a dream horse, but he does reciprocate the kindness that Alex shows him by performing to the best of his ability. They become a winning team in Western riding, but Alex has always dreamed of studying dressage. Several fortuitous circumstances help to make this a reality. A woman who is smitten with his father happens to have a dressage horse that she doesn't ride. A stable opens near him with two dressage trainers. He meets a girl, Cleo, who also becomes a dressage student and eventually a friend. The story alternates between Alex and Cleo. Cleo is privileged and rebellious; Alex is talented and self-effacing. He is also gay and has spent his teen years quietly struggling to understand and accept who he is but is concerned that his orientation will be unacceptable to his family and friends. He gradually becomes more confident, and, with the support of those who really care about him, his aspirations and his personal relationships seem full of promise. This is a well-written contemporary story with touches of humor and well-drawn, empathetic characters.-Carol Schene, formerly at Taunton Public Schools, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

(High School) Juby's irreverent style of storytelling, familiar to fans of Alice, I Think (rev. 7/03), here explores an unlikely friendship: that of Alex, a boy who rides Western but secretly yearns to switch to dressage, and Cleo, a spoiled rich girl with way too much horse, sent to boarding school in "Nowhereville, British Columbia, Canada" as a punishment for some "faulty decision-making." The two meet at the stable of kindly Fergus and demanding Ivan, top-notch dressage trainers. Cleo finds stability in Alex's quirky household, and Alex finds a friend to whom he can come out for the first time. The plot is a little overcrowded: the friendship becomes strained when Cleo begins to party heavily instead of working, and Alex's borrowed horse is reclaimed by the owner after her breakup with Alex's dad. The details of dressage play a major role in the book, although perhaps not enough to satisfy ardent horse fans. Instead, Juby divides her attention between the riding, which she clearly loves, and the social lives of the characters, who get her sometimes dark, always oddball treatment; the portrayal of Alex is particularly noteworthy as an unselfconscious, holistic rendering of a gay teen. Occasional unflattering moments confirm each character's human bona fides as they throw their hats into the ring in the complex sport of growing up. From HORN BOOK, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Alex's passion for riding, grooming and showing horses keeps his compartmentalized life orderly and his homosexuality at bay. When he starts riding dressage, an elegant equestrian sport, with a brazen boarding-school blonde named Chloe, he gets thrown from the saddle. Readers of Juby's Alice McLeod series will find similar pitch-perfect comedic voices as well as sensitive, subtle treatment of teen struggles with identity and friendship. Spoiled, ditzy Chloe provides hilarious first-person narration, unwittingly throwing lopsided punch lines that draw consistent laughs. Her dizziness keeps the novel buoyant and leavens Alex's world of palpable tension. Juby delivers his earnest struggle to maintain a double life through a third-person narrator, cleverly conveying the distance between Alex's inner feelings and his outward expressions. Dressage, along with his odd-couple friendship with Chloe, gives Alex the strength to simply relax and be himself. Teens will happily embrace this refreshingly holistic gay teen character, built on cute quirks, humor and pathos rather than farce and flamboyance. (Fiction. YA) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

The author of Alice, I Think (2003) offers a change of pace in this charming story. Alex Ford fell in love with horses at age six, and then with the sport of dressage. But Alex knows that Turnip, the sturdy horse his dad won in a poker game, will never manage dressage, and resigns himself to becoming a cowboy. When a new horse enters his life,  Alex, by now 16 and struggling with his sexuality, finds himself in a dressage class. The only other member of the class is Cleo, a spoiled American who was sent to the Vancouver riding school after getting in trouble at home. The two lonely teens develop a friendship that eventually helps them realize their identities and strengths. Wry humor infuses this quiet story with a gentle warmth, and the secondary characters are well developed. Juby clearly knows horses and dressage, and her portrait of this world adds to the book's appeal. Readers don't have to be horse lovers to find this a winning read.--Rutan, Lynn Copyright 2007 Booklist