The Horse Charmer (Phantom Stallion: Wild Horse Island Series #1)
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The Horse Charmer (Phantom Stallion: Wild Horse Island Series #1)

4.6 47
by Terri Farley

Darby Carter loves horses, even though she's never actually ridden one. Darby's grandfather is an expert rider—in fact, he owns a horse ranch in Hawaii. So when he agrees to take her in—along with the beautiful mustang Darby saved on the range in Nevada—she knows she can't refuse, even if she is a little terrified!

But Darby's filly arrives in


Darby Carter loves horses, even though she's never actually ridden one. Darby's grandfather is an expert rider—in fact, he owns a horse ranch in Hawaii. So when he agrees to take her in—along with the beautiful mustang Darby saved on the range in Nevada—she knows she can't refuse, even if she is a little terrified!

But Darby's filly arrives in bad shape, and Darby's grandfather wonders if the wild horse will ever trust a human again. Can Darby take the reins and save her horse—or has she lost the mustang forever?

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Phantom Stallion: Wild Horse Island Series , #1
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Phantom Stallion: Wild Horse Island #1: The Horse Charmer

Chapter One

In the dream, horses trot alongside her through a jungle. Burnished bay, black, roan, and glimmering gray, they canter under vines that trail over them, leaving their tails strewn with scarlet flowers. Their nostrils flare to smell the honey-sweet air. Their hooves thump a wild rhythm while rain patters on overhead leaves that wave like green elephant ears.

Darby follows a red dirt path, though she doesn't know where it leads. Even when the trail slopes down, ever steeper, and the rain's hiss crowds into her ears, she isn't afraid. The horses press close all around her.

She is one of them, until the rain stops.

The horses halt.

With undersea slowness, Darby turns to ask them why. Heads tossing, manes slapping their necks, the horses' uneasy milling tells her they can't go on.

She pivots in a shaft of sunlight. Brightness slanting through the treetops spotlights a clearing. It wasn't there a minute ago. Neither was the dollhouse-small shack.

Rain drips from its metal roof. Rust streaks its walls. A white curtain billows out a window and strange music coaxes Darby to walk closer.

The horses watch as Darby's bare feet take her right up to the wooden door.

Slowly, inch by inch, it is creaking open. . . .

"Honey, you really didn't have time for a nap."

Darby Carter's eyes snapped open.

Car keys jingled. Her mom stood next to the couch, smiling down at her. "Your last day at school tired you out."

"I guess," Darby managed, but then her confusion lifted.

Her last day of school—at least for a few weeks—hadcome early; it was still only March.

She shook her head, stared at the suitcases and backpack waiting next to the front door, and realized she wasn't in a jungle.

She was in her apartment, but struggling out of the dream was like pushing aside those tropical vines she'd imagined. At last she sat up and her eyes wandered to the television. The five o'clock news was coming on.

Panic zinged her nerves. "We're supposed to leave at five!"

"Yep, let's go," her mom said.

Suitcases stowed, doors slammed, and seat belts cinched, they sped down the block, dared a yellow light to take their freeway entrance, and headed toward the Los Angeles International Airport.

"You can still change your mind," her mom said. Hands gripping the car's steering wheel, Ellen Carter glanced sideways at her daughter. "I can turn around," she added, and when Darby didn't respond, her voice turned serious. "Right this minute."

"It's okay, Mom. I want to go," Darby said.

After all, why should she feel homesick? It wasn't like she'd miss the smog, noise, and sirens. Or school.

She and her mom didn't live in the best neighborhood. Darby's middle school was known for rough hallway encounters and a vice principal who thought a rigid dress code could cure just about any problems the students had.

Darby had a different strategy. She'd learned that scuttling down the halls with her eyes lowered made her look like a loser and attracted the wrong kind of attention. So she always walked as tall as a five-foot eighth grader could, and pretended to search the tide of faces for her best friend Heather, even when she knew Heather had class on the other side of campus.

That worked pretty well unless an asthma attack forced Darby into a bathroom to use her inhaler. There, she faced waves of cigarette smoke—which only made it harder to breathe—or the accusing stares of girls writing lipstick graffiti on the mirrors.

She got the same looks from the kids in class, when teachers required her to answer questions.

She wouldn't, couldn't, fake being dumb. Neither could Heather, and that's how they'd ended up friends. Most days they'd split a sandwich between class and the library, then spend their lunchtimes reading. After school they'd e-mail back and forth and talk on the phone about horses.

Darby sighed.

"Do you have all your medicine? What about your ticket?"

"No, Mom, I threw them out the window," Darby joked, but her mother didn't seem to notice. When her mother leaned forward to squint through the windshield, Darby felt a jab of guilt and checked her backpack pocket for her plane ticket.

Her mother couldn't afford to get the new contact lenses she needed, but she'd found the money for the flight that would take Darby across the ocean.

Mom, Darby thought, I'm really going to miss you. But she didn't say it, and then she couldn't, because brake lights glared in front of them like a thousand red eyes.

Her mother sucked in a breath and made a worried sound before she muttered, "We'll make it."

"You can drop me off in front," Darby said.

She'd just turned thirteen. She could make her way through the terminal and figure out where she was going, right?

Still, Darby crossed her fingers, hoping her mom wouldn't take her up on the offer.

"Of course I can't," her mother said, but she didn't sound firm about it. Suddenly she yelled at a driver weaving in front of them, "Hey! Would it kill you to hang up and drive?"

As soon as she'd finished yelling, they laughed. She and Darby both knew that if her mom's cell phone rang and the number displayed was her agent's, nothing, including L.A.'s next big earthquake, would keep her from answering.

Darby's mother, Ellen Carter, was an actress, and she'd been awaiting her big break for as long as Darby could remember. Darby didn't try to fool herself. She knew part of the reason her mom was letting her ugly duckling daughter go off without her for six months was so she could concentrate on her career.

Ellen Carter claimed that when she'd been married to Darby's father, she'd been happy staying with Darby in an apartment above a pizza parlor, but Darby couldn't picture it. And she knew her parents had broken up over her mom's love of acting.

Phantom Stallion: Wild Horse Island #1: The Horse Charmer. Copyright � by Terri Farley. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Terri Farley is the author of the wildly popular Phantom Stallion series, which has sold one million copies. For her new series, Wild Horse Island, Terri volunteered on a horse ranch in Hawaii for three weeks. After much coaxing, she returned to her husband in Verdi, Nevada, where she lives and writes.

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Horse Charmer (Phantom Stallion: Wild Horse Island Series #1) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Darby Carter is a horse girl - she's always had a fascination and love for them, even though she's never owned or ridden one. But after saving a wild filly from disaster, she adopts the horse and moves to Hawaii to live on her grandfather's ranch.

When she gets there, she's instantly in love with the pastures and horses that inhabit Io'lani Ranch. Excited for her own horse -- dubbed Hoku for the star emblazoned on her chest -- to arrive, she's surprised when the wild filly is a lot wilder than she remembered.

Darby is going to have to work hard with Hoku if she ever expects the horse to trust her. As unpredictable as the weather, Hoku is a horse to be wary of. But Darby has a strange connection to her, no matter how distant she may seem.

Horse lover or not, I think anyone can enjoy this book. The characters are so authentic and lifelike, it feels like I know them personally. I have no doubt that this will be an excellent series, and I'm dying to get my hands on the next book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is recommended for kids who are interested in horses. I heart this book, and would say the age range is somewhere between 9 and 12.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great for kids of all ages. If you have ever been to Hawaii, you can picture the ranches and horses. Great bedtime story to read to the younger kids too. Who doesn't love horse stories?
Guest More than 1 year ago
The series Phantom Stallion: Wild Horse Island is amazing, if you like horses, you will LOVE this series. If you start #1, you have to read them all!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is a little boring at parts, but most of it is really great. It explains the setting for the other books in the series, and you really can't read them without reading this book. It is great, and I am now reading it for my 4th time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is really great 4 kids who just luv horses like me!! I really hope that maybe Sam could be in the series a lttle bit. In the last phantom stallion book if it wasn't for the helicopter and the bus drivers poor driving they wouldn't have crashd into Hoku, the horse, and Darby would have never met the horse. So.... Thank you helicopter and bus drivers poor driving!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have started The Horse Charmer And it is sooo good! I really recomend it! I can not wait till The Shining Stallion comes out! If it is anything like the first book it will be great! I think Terri Farley is one of my fav authors! :) This series will totally rock!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i did NOT like darby one bit in the last book, and yes terri fairly is the 2 best auther in the world 'erin hunter ROX!!! READ WARRIORS!' but in the last like 10 of her books 7 of them are like the same and in all of the 24 books they take a 'magical' ride on the phantom and somthing goes wrong and it alawys turns good. how borring is that! but in all i have to admit they are pretty good!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I know this book, and the rest of the series, will be great because it is written by Terri Farley! Terri said she would probably mention Sam in the WHI series, maybe even try to get Sam over to Hawaii! Still, I hope she doesn't mention Sam too much. This series is about Darby, not Sam. Don't get me wrong, Sam is probably the best main character I've ever read about! Still, this series is made for Darby. We have to learn to let go at some point. A girl by the alias of Sam, webmaster of Terri's top fansite, recieved the book in advance because of how dedicated she was to the PS series and the site. She was able to read THE HORSE CHARMER early and loved it! Sam said that some of us didn't like Darby in RUN AWAY HOME - I'm not one of those people. I happen to like Darby - but she said we would really start to relate to her! I can't wait for these books! It's coming out in 11 days!!! Whooo!
Guest More than 1 year ago
yeah, this sound like a good book, but i hope they mention sam like, darby gets a letter from sam or something....
Guest More than 1 year ago
I Can't Wait till this book comes out. I love the Phantom Stallion Books and I can't wait to read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I totally agree with AlyxtheDarkWanderer- i love or loved sams story but this- nah
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is not as intense as it looks it is good for all ages but it does have a slight cliff hanger ending nothing to intense i read this when i was about 10 and it was really good it has a slow start but if you get past that it is an amazing book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A little bit nervous My dream is to have my own horse. I like to picture wild horses galloping on the beach, kicking up sand. This book seems perfect, but is it okay for a 9 year old? It kind of looks like...i dont want to admit this...scary. not scary, but intense? Yes, thats the word. Intense. it OK for me? Thank you for taking your time to read my question. Please click on recent and write your review with this: ~horses! At the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best serise in he world! Both wild horse island and the orignal phantom stallion serise!!!!!!! Have the whole serise! Absolutly love! Terri Farley is the best author in the world! I hope people like my future book that I'm making! (It is about wild horses! :) )
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Still cant belive terri stoped the phantom stallion series! So mine as wellbtfy thies.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Horrible book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Got me hooked from the begining
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Okay ill meet you there!" Runs off -Oaktail
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I cant post in hotse diaries... or mares. Tell my clan please! Our new location is xyz. Thankyou
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