The Lost Kodas – Myra King
Author: Myra King
Publisher: Sweet Cherry Publishing
First published: 2015
Blurb: In the shade if the Giant’s Throne Mountain, and on the coast on the Indian Ocean, Port St. Christopher is home to Apley Towers; a riding school for girls and boys, young or old, who learn what it means to be a true horse rider.
Kaela and Trixie call Apley Towers their Neverland. It’s the best place in the world – a place for friendship, laughter and learning. But when both girls take on more responsibilities than they can handle, they have to make some tough choices that take a toll on their friendship.
Will they have to sacrifice Apley in the end? It takes a girl on the other side of the world to remind them of what’s important and that challenges are there to be overcome.
History of my copy: I was lucky enough to win this book in a Goodreads competition. I will admit that I entered this competition mainly because the cover really caught my attention, but having read the book, I’m so glad I won – I probably wouldn’t have ever read it if I hadn’t.
As someone who is really not a horse person, I was genuinely surprised at how much I loved this book. For anyone who has doubts reading it because they too aren’t a fan of horses, go ahead and read it anyway. The message of the book is applicable to any situation, and the riding school is just a way of representing a commitment that you adore, but may not necessarily be able to pursue forever.
The message is that, when you’re young, it’s important to carry on doing the things you love. You have plenty of time when you grow up to decide what you want to do. And, although while young you must certainly work hard to keep as many doors open as possible, sometimes it’s important to sacrifice some of that to take a break. It’s also about standing up to people who are ‘bullies’.
Plot: This book follows two girls, Kaela and Trixie, through a difficult time in their lives. Although the plot itself isn’t outstanding, the message behind it is a wonderful and really relatable one. The book is about the pressure put on teenagers to be prepared for their future, and how that can affect them. This pressure not only pushes the girls apart, but it makes them really question things. It takes Phoenix, a native Canadian, to put things back into perspective.
Setting: The entire book is set at the Riding School, Apley Towers (with a little bit set at Kaela’s house and the local Chinese takeaway). Apley Towers itself really sounds like a wonderful place, and it is no wonder that it’s referred to as Neverland. Set in South Africa, you really get a picture of how different it is from where I live, England.
Characters: There aren’t many characters in this books, so I’m just going to write about my favourite, Trixie. I really like her as she reminds me so much of herself. This year, I gave up music lessons so that I could study 6 A-levels (for those of you not familiar with the British education system, that’s twice the average student). As I did well last year, and wish to study medicine at Cambridge, I felt like sacrificing music lessons for an extra subject or two was a good idea. After all, I could always pick up electronic keyboard lessons again later in life. Whilst I don’t regret my decision, I do miss my music lessons.
Trixie has the same problem. She wishes to take more subjects, but that would mean she would give up riding. In the end, she does the opposite to what I did, and decided to not take the extra subjects.
To read or not to read: Read. I think this book contains a brilliant story about growing up and how important it is to carry on doing the things you love, and to not let future plans get in the ways of friendships. I really recommend this to anyone who is currently having to make important decisions in their lives, and even to parents whose children are making those decisions too. And, for people who aren’t fans of horse, don’t be put off! Yes, it does all take place at a Riding School, but I think the message of the book is more important than the setting.