Reviews for Boleto

Booklist Reviews 2012 March #2
*Starred Review* With a keen understanding of the New West and in prose so beautiful that it reads like poetry, Hagy (Ghosts of Wyoming, 2010) follows Will Testerman as he strives to realize his goal of becoming a horse trainer. His father, who works two jobs to support his failing ranch, thinks his son is a dreamer, which is the ultimate insult in rural Wyoming. Even after a disastrous stint on the Texas show-horse circuit, Will spends his savings to buy an impressive quarter horse, convinced the move will make his reputation and grant him entrée into the elite world of training polo horses. He starts a strict regimen, ever so carefully bringing his young filly along, first at home, then at a guest ranch in the Absaroka Mountains, and, finally, at the deluxe farm of a fabulously wealthy Argentine businessman. But Will's straight-arrow upbringing and unfailing reverence for all aspects of tending to horses prove to be his undoing in the hedonistic, flashy world of polo players. Hagy exquisitely delineates the magnificence of horses and the western landscape even as she pointedly critiques class warfare in the New West. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 April #2
He's come of age, but the appealing young cowboy still has life lessons to learn in this beautifully observed third novel from Hagy (Snow, Ashes, 2007, etc.). Will Testerman knows horses. He was 8 when he bought a pony and 16 when he started wrangling; he's worked the rodeo circuit. But there's little to keep him home on the small ranch outside Lost Cabin, Wyo. It can't sustain his family. Both his embittered father and his brother Everett must work second jobs in town. Besides, Will, now 23, has a restless spirit. His father sees him as an impractical dreamer, but his schoolteacher mother encourages him to spread his wings. Will tended her during her breast-cancer scare; that's now in remission. The novel opens with Will buying a beautiful 2-year-old filly for a bargain price. She will be a "development project" for the patient Will. He talks to her a lot, building trust. He won't ride her yet (no saddle until she's three), but they'll be going to California together to meet Don Enrique. Hagy leaves the name hanging, a nice bit of suspense. First they will go to a guest ranch near Cody, where Will has a summer job as corral boss. Hagy demonstrates an easy mastery of her material; whether it's horsey stuff, a sex scene or an ugly poker game, she nails it. The estancia in Anaheim is a shock. It turns out Don Enrique is an Argentine businessman who hosts polo games. His manager is a swine. Five frightened, underfed Argentine teenagers do the barn work. Will's fantasy of learning the polo business, unwisely based on a single conversation with the Don, begins to crumble. Will his innate decency hobble him with this tough, mercenary crowd? And can he protect his beloved filly from these rapacious rich folks? It will prove a hard landing for them both. Plot lags behind character, but Hagy reads horses and people so well you won't mind…so much. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2012 April #1

Living on his family's Wyoming ranch after his job on the Texas show-horse circuit ends badly, Will Testerman buys a beautiful filly he's seen--an expensive investment for this intermittently employed horse trainer. Putting some personal misadventures behind him, he has set his sights on California and the more lucrative world of polo horses. Although he has brief affairs with several young women, Will is careful to avoid any connections that might slow him down, and he refuses to name the filly he hopes he can train and eventually sell. Saying a reluctant good-bye to his ill mother, an ex-girlfriend, and the leaden expectations of his father, his brothers, and his small-town life, he tries to begin again, alone and friendless, with his horses on the West Coast. Vivid descriptions of horses and their caretakers' lives frame the novel and slowly draw readers into caring about the taciturn, cautious, yet unpredictable Will. VERDICT Hagy (Ghosts of Wyoming) knows her territory, describing dude ranch employees, harnesses, trails, horses, and human conflict in lyrical but concise language. This realistic tale about a modern cowboy will be popular with lovers of literary fiction and American Western culture.--John R. Cecil, Austin, TX

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 February #3

A restless young cowboy bets it all on a horse he raises from filly to mare in Hagy's (Ghosts of Wyoming) beautiful tale of redemption and perseverance. Will Testerman, raised with two brothers on a small ranch in Lost Cabin, Wyo., by a critical father and a mother battling cancer, returns home after a stint grooming show horses in Texas ends in melodramatic disaster. Determined to redeem himself, he spends his hard-earned savings on a "strong-legged filly with papers" and devotes himself to rearing and training her, despite his doubting father and older, more successful brothers. Once through the Wyoming winter, Will works as a "corral boss" on a nearby ranch for the summer before going to the esteemed California "Estanza Flora" ranch to train horses on the polo circuit, a challenging but rewarding job, and where he continues to train and develop his horse. In measured, textured prose, Hagy finesses the nuances of equestrian life, from the knowing twitch of the filly's ears to Will naming his horse "Boleto" ("ticket"), signifying his hoped for success. Joining such resonant talents as Annie Proulx and Kent Haruf, Hagy is fast becoming a recognizable author of the American West. Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents Inc. (May)

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