Another Kind of Cowboy

I've been seeing reviews of Susan Juby's Another Kind of Cowboy popping up on book blogs quite a bit recently. Blogs like The YAYAYAs, Reading Outside the Box and The Story Siren. Not only is it YA, but it's also GLBT and it's (are you ready for it?) Canadian! When I found myself at a bookstore with a pretty darned good teen section this weekend and they had this I had to buy it. The Canadian thing alone would have cemented it as I really am trying to make an effort to support more Canadian YA authors.

I loved the idea of this book. I really did. And I liked the book...but, sadly, I did not love it.

To get really simplistic Another Kind of Cowboy tells the story of two teens in BC - Alex, a local cowboy whose secret desire is to do dressage, and Cleo, a pampered princess type whose parents sent her away to a private school to continue doing dressage(aka the poor little rich girl). The story alternates between Alex's and Cleo's points of view. Cleo struggles with not wanting to be in school and her absentee parents and resenting everything equestrian. Alex is in the closet with everyone and desperately wants to move from Western riding to dressage. Their paths cross and an unlikely friendship springs between the two of them.

I think this book had great potential. Alex especially was an endearing character. There were great periphery characters (Alex's Aunt Grace and his sisters are a hoot). But I felt that we really didn't see a lot of development with the miain characters. Don't get me wrong, while I'd love to believe that everyone had the reaction that Alex got when coming out I found I couldn't quite believe it. It was too...easy? Simple? Non-confrontational? And Cleo's change from spoiled slacker to responsible horse owner seemed a bit abrupt but I kind of understood it. I get where the author was going with both characters but I felt that the story lacked some depth.

I really did like the book. Unfortunately I was expecting to love it and that's disappointing.