THE GREAT TEXAS DRAGON RACE, by Kacy Ritter, Clarion Books, Aug. 1, 2023, Hardcover, $19.99 (ages 8-12)
A girl risks her life to save her family’s dragon sanctuary in The Great Texas Dragon Race, a new middle-grade novel by Kacy Ritter.
Thirteen-year-old Cassidy Drake wants nothing more than to race with her best dragon, Ranga, in the annual Great Texas Dragon Race. Her mother was a racing legacy, and growing up on her family’s dragon sanctuary ranch, Cassidy lives and breathes dragons. She knows she could win against the exploitative FireCorp team that cares more about corporate greed than caring for the dragons.
Cassidy is so determined to race that she sneaks out of her house against her father’s wishes and enters the competition. Soon Cassidy takes to the skies with Ranga across her glorious Lone Star State.
But with five grueling tasks ahead of her, dangerous dragon challenges waiting at each one, and more enemies than allies on the course, Cassidy will need to know more than just dragons to survive. —Synopsis provided by Clarion Books
The Great Texas Dragon Race is 400 pages. But it doesn’t read like that. Author Kacy Ritter has created a world and story that are so encompassing that you feel as if you’re watching a movie as the story unfolds. This would be a fun book to read or listen to aloud as a class.
A lot of that has to do with Ritter’s main character. Cassidy Drake is strong, determined and brave beyond her years. Though the book takes place over a period of days, Cassidy’s growth is notable. Her interactions with the other contestants and the dragons themselves are highlights. And her desire to do what’s right rings true.
The Great Texas Dragon Race is a contemporary middle-grade fantasy that’s full of excitement adventure and heart. Though it’s a stand-alone novel, and everything is resolved, there’s definitely room in the world Ritter has created to explore more stories.
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