Taking Flight

By . Category: . ISBN: 978-1-84840-949-1


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Declan realises his love for horses when he is forced to live with his posh cousin Vicky. But she will do anything to keep him away from her precious horse, Flight, no matter who gets hurt.

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‘Beyond the fence everything is dark, but in here is our own lit-up world. Just me and Flight. Our breath snakes into the night like the aftermath of a firework.’

The only riding fifteen-year-old Declan has ever done is joyriding. When he’s forced to stay with his snobby cousin ‘Princess’ Vicky, he’s shocked to find himself falling in love with horses. Vicky would do anything to keep Declan out of her already perfect life and away from her precious showjumper, Flight, no matter who gets hurt…

Moving from a harsh Belfast housing estate to the glamour of the showjumping ring, Taking Flight is a fast-paced story full of conflict, jealousy and courage.


‘ … gripping … a powerful and convincing debut novel.’  Anna Carey, The Irish Times

This masterfully structured narrative suggests, in an unsentimental manner, that the inner struggle to understand oneself can be redemptive.’ Judges, Bisto Children’s Book of the Year Awards

‘It is no easy thing to create teenage voices that are believable and that demand our sympathy, but that is what happens here and it is pat of the book’s accomplishment that we come to care about both of them … This is a book for adults and older children that deserves to be widely read …’ Maureen Boyle, Fortnight

‘… a gripping first young-adult novel that will hold the reader’s attention until the final page, leaving them sorry it is finished. … it will suit any kind of reader, even those with no experience of or interest in horses. … masterfully told, with a flowing sensitivity sure to be appreciated by teenagers. This novel is not to be ignored.’  Inis magazine

‘A highly impressive debut novel.’ Robert Dunbar, The Irish Times

… what sets it apart is the authenticity that Wilkinson gives to her characters. … Wilkinson has a fine eye for description … told with aplomb and talent. I very much look forward to Wilkinson’s next novel.’ Bookish

‘Best book I’ve read … not exclusively a book for horse lovers … an absorbing fast pace read … you are quickly drawn into it and I found it very hard to put down …’ ponymadbooklovers.co.uk

‘ … believable, well-rounded characters and a convincing plot …’ The White Ravens 2011 Internationale Jugendbibliothek 

‘ … a great piece of dramatic realism.’ Claire Hennessy

‘ … a very assured and accomplished first novel … a memorable main character … Pace and tension are brilliantly handled in an absorbing coming-of-age story whose appeal won’t be limited to horse-lovers.’ Armadillio magazine

‘LOVE this book. Can’t recommend it highly enough.’ Keren David, UKYA

‘Both voices are believable as teens and are well drawn and layered.’ The School Library Journal, USA

‘ … what sets it apart is the authenticity that Wilkinson gives to her characters. … [she] has a fine eye for description … the horse scenes don’t overpower the narrative. All in all, I thought that this was a well written novel that kept me turning the pages and which showed a real flair and talent for narrative voice.’ Amazon

‘5 out of 5 stars: Astounding debut – cannot wait to read more from this author!’ Amazon

‘5 out of 5 stars: A real page turner … a hugely engaging novel.’ Amazon

‘5 out of 5 stars: Highly recommended for teenagers … this is the first book I’ve read cover to cover this year. As a busy mum, I don’t really have time to read. I bought this book for my daughter, but was curious to read it myself first and finished it in 4 sittings. It’s a captivating novel.’ Amazon

‘5 out of 5 stars: A great read! … a well written, gripping read with a realistic, contemporary setting.’ Amazon

‘The characters are believable and the plot draws you in and flows smoothly right up to the last sentence.’ Amazon

About Sheena Wilkinson

Sheena Wilkinson writes contemporary realistic fiction for children and young adults. Since the publication of her first novel, the multi-award-winning Taking Flight, she has been established as one of Ireland\'s most acclaimed writers for children and teenagers.Taking Flight (2010) won the CBI Honour Award for Fiction as well as the Children’s Choice Award. It was named as a White Raven by the International Youth Library and got a place on the IBBY Honour List. Its sequel, Grounded (2012) also won the CBI Children’s Choice award as well as the overall Book of the Year. Too Many Ponies, for readers 9+, was also shortlisted for the CBI awards, making that three out of three. Sheena\'s latest YA title, Still Falling, was published in 2015, as was Name upon Name, a historical novel for older children.In 2013-14 she was the first CBI Bringing to Book Writer in Residence at the Church of Ireland College of Education in Rathmines. She is a professional mentor for NUI Galway, and tutors for the Arvon Foundation. Sheena lives in County Down, and travels extensively in Ireland and beyond, talking about books and writing.

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2 reviews for Too Many Ponies

  1. Little Island
    5 out of 5


    ‘Heartbreaking and heartwarming in equal measure … Emotionally charged and utterly believable, this is a novel that will remain with the reader long after the last page is read. Insightful, engaging and ultimately uplifting. Wilkinson has crafted an instant classic.’ – Inis Magazine, Children’s Books Ireland

  2. Bruno
    5 out of 5


    Amazing book!

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