Bia moves away from home to attend university, get out from the shadows of her famous brothers, and get away from her controlling father, but matters are complicated when she’s branded the campus slut just for being Brazillian. She finds solace at a nearby ranch and falls in love with a difficult but beautiful horse, Midnight Dream, and his trainer, Garrett, who spends way too much time at the campus than a non-student should and has the burden of the world on his shoulders.
Breaking Fences was my first New Adult novel. I normally read Young Adult but I do occasionally dip into erotic romance, and I was deeply surprised to find that New Adult, at least in this book, is basically a mash-up of the two. Slut shaming abounded, but this is no surprise as it’s also one of the main sub-plots. The romance and kissing scenes wouldn’t have been out of place in one of those raunchier dry-humping YA novels (*ahem Shatter Me or Hush, Hush*) but it was the graphicness of the actual sex which surprised me. That’s not to say that it was more graphic than erotica, just that as a non-New Adult reader it took me completely by surprise. But it was a really great first foray into the genre, and I’m glad I had someone as competent as Haygert to guide me.
I really liked Breaking Fences. I actually made the mistake of picking up Breaking the Reins, the first book in this series, to read for this blog tour, and only realised my mistake when I was quite enjoying the book. I didn’t have time to finish Breaking the Reins before this tour so I’m reading the companion books out of order, but I can safely say that you do not need to read Breaking the Reins before you read Breaking Fences.
It’s a really lovely novel about Brazillian girl called Bia finding her way in life, stepping out of the shadows of her successful family and making her own way. Of course, there’s plenty of horse action as a large part of the novel takes place at a horse ranch, which I loved. There was also lots of ‘will he won’t he’ type romance, although unfortunately Bia was the kind of strong girl who don’t need no man, so she was often brash and brushing off her interactions with the resident hottie cowboy. She was a fun character to read about and I really liked her. She often struggled with the ‘old Bia’ who was loud and violent and comfortable in her own skin, and the ‘new Bia’ who had been affected by campus rumours and was withdrawn, shy, and insecure.
There’s a good cast surrounding Bia including mysterious hottie Garrett, BFF Phoebe, a pushy entitled jerkface called Jonah, and a host of slut-shamed sorority girls who initially wanted to be friends with Bia but quickly turn on her. We also get to see some of Bia’s family and Hannah, who was the star of the first novel. But most importantly, we get to see lots of Midnight, who is a dreamy black colt who falls hoof over hoof for Bia, even though she’s not supposed to go near him. Midnight was all kinds of adorable and I loved her interactions with him.
“There’s no way to explain how two people, or an animal and a person, connect. I guess it’s just like when you fall in love. You don’t choose the person you fall in love with. It just happens.”
Although it is clear Haygert did a lot of research about horses to write this novel, and I wasn’t sure if it was a language barrier because I’m pretty sure English is Haygert’s second language (although she is very proficient with it and the few grammatical mistakes are no more than you would typically find in any self-published novel), or if she simply didn’t know enough about horses to pull it off convincingly, but there were a few tells in the narrative that a horse expert would never make the mistake of writing. It’s not called ‘putting the tack on’, it’s called ‘tacking up.’ And unless a horse has a runny nose and is therefore sick, a horse’s muzzle is never wet like a dog’s, but warm and soft and velvety. Apart from these few minor but jarring errors, the horse stuff was all nicely written.
Seriously, if you like books where horses play a major role, or hot cowboys, or campus stories, or probably even New Adult in general, this book is totally for you. I really enjoyed it and stayed up late at night to read it, and dove straight back into the first novel as soon as it was over. I really hope Haygert writes more about the Fernandez family because I love their love of horses and I’d happily read another.
Thanks to YA Bound Book Tours and the author for providing a free advanced reader's copy for an honest review.