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YA Horse Book Review: Tabby’s Big Year by Hollie Anne Marsh @RaRareSources @HollieAnneMarsh

Image shows the cover art for Tabby's Big Year. A Young girl with her hair in a braid stands with her pony. Tabby’s Big Year by Hollie Anne Marsh

My Review

I have a fondness for animal books. When I was young girl, my favorite book in the world was Black Beauty. I read my copy over and over again until the pages started to come unglued from the binding. As an adult, I still maintain a deep love of animals and a particular affinity for horses. As a horse lover, I had wonderful time reading Tabby’s Big Year. 

Tabby’s Big Year is sure to delight horse lovers of all ages. The book is the second in the Sweetbriars Series. I was a bit confused at first because I had not read the first book in the series, but I quickly got my footing and was swept along by Tabby’s story.

There are a lot of story threads in this book and a lot happens quite quickly; however, at the heart of the novel is Tabby’s coming of age story. Tabby is a very kind protagonist with whom readers will be able to relate. I was particularly touched by her epic journey to save Nancy from the “knacker’s,” (in America, we would call it “the glue farm”) and that part of the book really touched my heart.

I also appreciated the loving way in which all of the characters were drawn.  I found myself able to relate to Tabby’s friends, as well as her sister and her mother. Tabby’s spirit is indomitable and she faces some very complex issues that would cause even adults to struggle. I enjoyed the way the author combined the fun of horses with the very real issues that young people face growing up in today’s world. I believe that many young readers will be able to relate to the challenges that the characters face and learn from Tabby’s experiences.

In many ways, the book reminded me of a cross between Black Beauty and the American Girl books that I loved so much when I was young.  If you’re looking for a fun series of animal books to get lost in this summer, I strongly recommend you hoof it on over to Sweetbriars farm!


Synopsis: Tabby’s Big Year

After Tabby’s father vanishes, a deep rift develops in Tabby’s family. Tabby’s mother is focused on being a star performer in her pharmaceutical sales career, while Ava, Tabby’s older sister, is living with grandparents in Cornwall. Tabby feels neglected by her mother and jealous of Ava and although outwardly diligent and responsible, she’s like a kettle about to blow its top… bottling things up until it’s nearly impossible to keep a lid on her frustration and sadness.
Tabby finds solace with her best friends Cate and Violet at Sweetbriars Farm where she is nursing her dream horse Bliss back to peak performance, to be able to participate in the try-outs for the British Young Riders Squad.
Tabby also finds herself facing other challenges – saving her beloved horse Nancy from the knacker’s yard and finding the courage to tell her friends the truth about her family.
Will Tabby be able to save the horses she loves and be brave enough to tell people how she really feels?

Get Your Copy! 

UK –



Read the first book in the series, Leaving the City! 

Image shows the cover of the first book in the series. It is entitled, Read the first book in the series!


About the Author

Hollie Anne Marsh is an Australian author who lives in Barcelona, Spain with her partner, baby boy and horse, Frieda.
Hollie has been horse riding since she was a little girl, enjoying activities such as Pony Club, showjumping, eventing, and trail-riding in the great Australian bush. Hollie lived in England for almost ten years where she had two horses and trained them for dressage.
The Sweetbriars series is inspired by all the special moments Hollie spent with horses – good, funny, and challenging moments!
Additionally the ‘coming of age’ and ‘growing up’ experiences that Hollie had.
Hollie hopes that readers will be able to identify with the characters, find the books fun to read, and they will help readers learn more about horses.


Follow Hollie Anne Marsh

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I would like to say “thank you,” to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources! Rachel provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Please be sure to check out the other great folks on this tour.

Image shows a list of all the blogs included in this book tour

Related Posts

If you love books about horses, I’m certain you’ll also love The Horse is Never Wrong by Mary Pagones! 

If you love YA dystopian books, I also recommend The Spec Set by Taya Okerlund. 

If you’re a fan of YA fantasy, be sure to check out my review of Fallon’s Hope! It includes an exclusive interview with the author. 


Let’s Connect!


What are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments below! Also, please don’t forget to subscribe so that you never miss a post. You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter! 

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