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Pie in the Sky (Horses of Oak Valley Ranch Series #4)

Pie in the Sky (Horses of Oak Valley Ranch Series #4)

4.6 14
by Jane Smiley

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Abby Lovitt doesn't realize how unprepared she is when she takes her beloved horse, True Blue, to a clinic led by the most famous equestrian anyone knows. The biggest surprise, though, is that Sophia, the girl who never makes a mistake, suddenly makes so many that she stops riding. Who will ride her horse? Abby's dad seems to think it will be Abby. Pie in the Sky


Abby Lovitt doesn't realize how unprepared she is when she takes her beloved horse, True Blue, to a clinic led by the most famous equestrian anyone knows. The biggest surprise, though, is that Sophia, the girl who never makes a mistake, suddenly makes so many that she stops riding. Who will ride her horse? Abby's dad seems to think it will be Abby. Pie in the Sky is the most expensive horse Abby has ever ridden. But he is proud and irritable, and he takes Abby's attention away from the continuing mystery that is True Blue.

And then there's high school—Abby finds new friends, but also new challenges, and a larger world that sometimes seems strange and intimidating. She begins to wonder if there is another way to look at horses, people, and life itself.

Accompanied by the beautiful imagery of 1960s Northern California, Abby's charming mix of innocence and wisdom guide us through Pulitzer Prize winner Jane Smiley's latest middle-grade horse novel.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Sara Martin
The fourth book in a series, Pie In The Sky takes a quiet, meandering look into the daily life of twelve-year-old horse lover, Abby Lovitt. The novel, short on plot and long on narrative, recounts Abby's trail of thoughts primarily related to her horses; her desire to learn how to jump; and the mystery of why her favorite horse seems to be afraid to jump. Minor conflicts with her religiously conservative, stubborn father and somewhat two-dimensional classmates are peppered throughout the story. Horse lovers will be entranced by the in-depth descriptions of horses, their care, and the process of learning how to train them. At times, these explanations can seem drawn out; for example, more than once, an entire page is devoted to detailing the setup of a single jump pass. Although the illustrations (unseen) will likely help to clarify, a glossary of horse/riding-related terms would be helpful to those unversed in the subject. While it is refreshing to read a novel whose storyline is unencumbered by angst, unfortunately Pie In The Sky seems to have lost some of the charm of The Georges And The Jewels (Knopf, 2009), the first book in the series. This is a solid choice for libraries where there is a great demand for equestrian fiction or where Smiley's previous books featuring Abby and her horses have been popular. Reviewer: Sara Martin
VOYA - Raluca Topliceanu
Jane Smiley's book, Pie In The Sky, falls flat. Other than rare references to the date, readers are left with no real indication that the story occurs in the 1960s. The main character, despite being knowledgeable about horses, appears not to have many other qualities—she interacts with other characters infrequently, and then, only briefly. Although horse fanatics will adore the frequent use of racing techniques and terminology, the scope of the novel is too narrow to attract other readers. Reviewer: Raluca Topliceanu, Teen Reviewer
Kirkus Reviews
Smiley continues the equine adventures of Abby Lovett (True Blue, 2011, etc.). When Abby, now 14 and a high school freshman, takes her beloved horse True Blue to a local horse show, she's shocked by how poorly they perform over fences. A clinic immediately following, with a nationally known rider, goes no better: While he seems to like Abby's riding, he has nothing nice to say about Blue and is, in fact, so rude toward Abby's group that one girl, Sophia, gets off her horse and refuses to ride again. Period. Abby gets a chance to school Sophia's lovely horse Pie in the Sky, which helps her understand why Blue is having trouble. A completely different sort of clinic, with a "natural horseman" (à la Buck Brannaman, the inspiration for The Horse Whisperer), gets Abby, Sophia and Blue back on the road to success. Smiley's writing is, as always, nearly flawless. Her evocation of the horse world of northern California in the 1960s is pitch-perfect, and Abby remains a complex and sympathetic character. But this story carries less weight than its three predecessors. Readers will believe from the start that Abby will sort out Blue's issues, and Sophia's problems are not particularly compelling. Without a strong problem, the story lacks tension and the resolution, force. Despite this shortcoming, another interesting read for horse lovers and Abby Lovett fans. (Fiction. 10-14)
Children's Literature - Cheryl Williams Chang
This is the fourth horse-related novel by Smiley. In the countryside of 1960s California, Abby Lovitt is trying to navigate her way through training horses, giving riding lessons, and competing on horses. She is also trying to fit into high school as a fresh-faced ninth grader. Change is lurking, though. Two of her good friends, Barbie and Alexis, have transferred to another school. Communication with them is limited. Two of her other friends, Stella and Gloria, only want to talk about television and gossip about classmates. Then, there is Sophia. She rides horses with Abby and is now attending Abby's school. Sophia follows her own rules and does not pay any attention to what anyone thinks of her. Abby is both fascinated and a little scared of her. There are changes with her horse as well. She is having a hard time riding True Blue, which no one can understand. Then she is given the opportunity to ride another horse, Pie in the Sky, in future competitions. Pie in the Sky has taken to Abby, and this is the most expensive horse she has ever ridden. She is not sure that she wants to ride Pie in the Sky, as she feels devoted to True Blue. Yet, True Blue has been nervous and uncomfortable around Abby recently. This book offers an in-depth look at how complex horses are, as well as the patience and skill a person must have to successfully ride one. Nice illustrations of materials, supplies, and equipment used by horse trainers and handlers can be found at the start of each chapter. This lovely work of young adult fiction will definitely appeal to late-middle school and young high school girls who love horses. Reviewer: Cheryl Williams Chang
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Abby Lovitt, first introduced in A Good Horse (Knopf, 2010) returns. The teenage daughter of a respected horse trader, Abby can't remember not riding. She loves her beautiful but green horse, True Blue, but is stuck at an impasse training him. Her time is constrained even more when she is tapped to ride Pie in the Sky, a prize jumper whose owner, Sophia, no longer wants to ride. While working with Pie, Abby realizes how much she loves riding and how important it is to her to do something she's passionate about. Sophia recovers her desire to ride after seeing Abby having so much fun on Pie. Abby also learns lessons about pride and the importance of family and friends. Her relationships with her family are well drawn, but her friends are one-dimensional and often introduced without explanation. The northern California setting and late-1960s time frame seem tacked on-they are not important to the story. Abby does much thinking and internal reasoning, making this a very character-centered novel. The book contains many details for horse-crazy readers, and the intended audience will probably be familiar with the specialized equestrian vocabulary frequently used. Purchase for fans of the first book.—Lisa Crandall, Capital Area District Library, Holt, MI

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Horses of Oak Valley Ranch Series , #4
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
960L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 11 Years

Meet the Author

JANE SMILEY is the author of many books for adults, including Private Life, Horse Heaven, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Thousand Acres. She was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001.
            Jane lives in Northern California, where she rides horses every chance she gets. She is also the author of four other novels for young readers in the Horses of Oak Valley Ranch series:The Georges and the Jewels, A Good Horse, True Blue, and Pie in the Sky.

Brief Biography

Northern California
Date of Birth:
September 26, 1949
Place of Birth:
Los Angeles, California
B.A. in English, Vassar College, 1971; M.A., Iowa University, 1975; M.F.A, 1976; Ph.D., 1978

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Pie in the Sky 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love and adour animals and horses. This was a great book. I train with horses and I'm a pro jockey racing in the preeknas. Thus is a GREAT BOOK FOR HORSE LOVERS!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi! The book has 182 pages of pure-mind-blowing-awesomeness! I love Jane Smiley! She is one of my top top favorite authors! A must buy, must read! I stayed up til almost midnight to read it! Oh yeah for the future, please be considerate of others and not put spoilers everyone! And really please dont be rude, hateful, etc. If you have anything like that to say please keep it to yourself! Everyone lets be honoring, respectful, and mature about what we say,do,write,think, etc. I love to read and I wont let that to get in the way! Thanks for reading, ~DAYDREAM14~
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
By the way authors work really hard , I mean what would you read without them! They should get shown more respect and be honored more by there readers and other people. Besides if you were an author and you sat there trying to finish a book for a couple of years and you came out with a great book ... but nobody liked it , how would you feel ? My point proven! To all authors keep writing your books I bet there better and better everytime!! Good job!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book/series! I cant wait for the nxt one!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How many pages??
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I agree. Writers should get more support. Like me in dance. I say let the writers write! And don't be mean to them. It's there passtion so don't spoil that for them! And that means don't say bad stuff about everyone! Like my mom says ' if you don't have anything nice to say don't say it at all!'
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sooooooooooo goood and sad
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nope! Search it exactly how i spell it. "Pi In the Sky" no E in pi!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
These books are amazing especially for young horse loving readers like me but people of all ages would enjoy this series! Its also great historical realistic fiction!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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