Just Like A Dream By Eileen Stacy

Kari knows it won’t be easy, and she has to do something before her true love rides off into the sunset!

Just Like a Dream

I never pass up the opportunity to pick up Tempo’s Caprice romances when I see them- for whatever reason, they are much harder to come by than the similar Sweet Dreams, First Love and Wildfire titles.

However, this time I probably should have taken a pass.

The Plot: Reading this book is exactly like getting assigned that girl who never shuts up about horses as your lab partner.

While I am glad that specific demographic has a book written specifically for them, I personally struggled to stay awake while reading it.

High school senior Kari Stewart is dating rich and popular Tim (who never gets a last name). But unsurprisingly, he’s a really turd who doesn’t understand her love of horses or passion to become a veterinarian. Kari meets handsome, horse-loving John Garrett, and breaks up with Tim.

That’s basically it, folks!  There is zero conflict or plot complications. There are many, many pages of descriptions of the equipment involved in grooming and showing horses.

So maybe it is not surprising that when it comes to descriptions of humans and their interactions, the prose sounds like a manual for robots trying to pass as people:

Kari towel-dried the extra moisture from her hair and plugged in her blow dryer.

Donna took a sip of the hot liquid and set it down on her desk.

Obviously, this is even more pronounced when the author is trying to describe romantic or sexy situations:

She couldn’t help but notice how his jeans molded to his lean hips and the cotton of his shirt strained across his broad shoulders. She paused and waited for his long, swinging strides to bring him to her.

John’s dark lashes closed over his eyes and he lowered his head to meet Kari’s. His lips feathered kisses on her eyelids, her cheek, and then found her mouth.

“Where is this head-hole you humans call ‘mouth’?”

There is also a full page describing the various choices of ribbons Kari can choose from as the head of the awards committee for her horse club, but I’m already feeling my hand cramp just thinking about typing it out. So, just imagine all the different ways ribbons can be.

Kari is thrilled to get a weekend job assisting at the vet clinic where John works, which involves a highly detailed description of how to sterilize surgical implements in an autoclave.

This also gives them an opportunity to flirt by accidentally-on-purpose touching hands while covered in horse blood:

As Kari laid the roll of bandages in his outstretched hand, their fingers touched. Again, this brief encounter sent shock waves through her body. She yanked her hand back as though her fingers had been burned by a flame. John didn’t seem to notice as he secured the bandages on Poco’s leg.


It is repeatedly hinted that John has a deep, dark secret. It is eventually revealed that he has won a scholarship to veterinary school and that his father had tractor fall on him, but I’m not sure which one was supposed to be the big secret.

Similarly, it is also constantly foreshadowed that Tim is planning some sort of retribution against Kari…

Tim slammed his fist on the dashboard.

“No girl breaks up with me. I’m the one who decides that. You’ll regret this, Kari.”

…and then his big revenge turn out to be dating a girl just because she can help him with his math homework and trying to get Kari’s best friend to go out with him, which she refuses because FILLIES BEFORE BILLIES! MARES BEFORE PLAYERS!

I don’t know, that sounds like something they’d say in this book. Her friend isn’t even tempted, so it’s not like it even results in any dramatic tension.

After at least 100 pages detailing all of the rules for showing one’s horse in the categories of Horsemanship and Western Pleasure, Kari finally wins one of those thoroughly-described first place ribbons. KARI + JOHN 4EVA, etc.

Sign It Was Written In 1985:

“I don’t believe what I’m hearing. Isn’t this the day of women’s lib?”

This entry was posted in Vintage YA Fiction and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Just Like A Dream By Eileen Stacy

  1. Susan says:

    This reminded me of a book that I read in elementary school, about a girl with a horse, from which I learned more than I needed to know (but not as much as contained in this book, apparently!) about horses and racing rules and the Kentucky Derby. I couldn’t remember the title or author or anything. But while reading your review, the name “Whickery” popped into my head, which led me to learn courtesy of google that the book was called “Born to Race.” Mystery solved 🙂 . Not that I want to read it again or anything. But I never would have come up with that without your review!

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