Review: The Series
"Sylvia... is a brilliant creation. She’s funny, observant, and absolutely devoid of self pity about her condition...I really can’t recommend these books highly enough: Sylvia for me has entered the ranks of great horse and pony book creations. She is unforgettable." Read the full review here.
Reviews: Born That Way
"Wonderful. Reads like a cross between Adrian Mole and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time."
"A smart, modern, witty novel. Curious adolescent equestrian navigates toward her passion. A must family read!"
"The best books targeted at adolescents don’t just offer escape from the pressures of changing bodies and a changing world; they offer an education on topics that young people are too shy or uncomfortable to broach. That is exactly what Born that Way does.… The overall message is that you don’t solve problems by ignoring them, and the family relationships help to underscore that an open mind and understanding are essential on everyone’s part."
"The writing is very skilled, the plot appropriately fast-moving, and the narrator's voice so believable as to be almost 'out loud'."
"I knew Susan rode her horse with intelligence, heart and humour, so I’m not surprised to find that she writes the same way."
"The novel answers (a number of) questions in an engaging, wise and often very funny account in which Sylvia gets help from unexpected allies including her pet barnacles, the Internet, a mysterious blond stranger, and a perceptive psychiatrist. But perhaps most important to her journey are her inner resources: a series of vivid and increasingly lucid dreams, and a deep determination that pushes her forward. Once she learns to trust and direct these inner powers, she begins to transform her life."
"The author's voice - that's the real "hook" of the book. I love Susan's tone - there's lot of angst, but no self-pity...it's a rather unique YA text."
Reviews: Made That Way
"On the one hand, this is a book that is firmly grounded in reality, and yet it is also a book about transformation, and transcendence and imagination as well as being about adjusting your perception when your reality cannot be changed…. It makes such a big difference to read a book where they get the details right. The horses have personalities that are as real and quirky as the human characters and their interactions with their people are completely believable."
"Susan, thank you for writing such a touching story of young Sylvie. I initially started reading the books as a commitment to our Turner Syndrome Society. However, I can honestly say that I enjoyed the story from so many levels. The humor is fantastic - the sexual references in particular. My oldest daughter has Turner Syndrome. We were both leery to read the books for fear of what someone outside the TS world might interpret. Susan, you captured so much of what these young girls (and the parents) struggle with - the differences, the questions and how to handle the answers. Thank you!"
"Made That Way is a story about growing up, coming to terms with self and others and gaining the emotional tools to deal with the unexpected. The characters, young and old, human and animal, are believable and likable. The plot is original and has lots of unique twists and turns, and Ketchen’s engaging writing style makes the book an engrossing read. Her wry sense of humour surfaces often. "
"Vancouver Island resident, lifelong equestrian and former family therapist Susan Ketchen draws on her considerable knowledge base and her passions for Made That Way.... It's an engaging coming-of-age story that explores difference and personal growth through a variety of lenses....Ketchen has created a cast of quirky yet real characters who are easy to identify and empathize with..... Ketchen demonstrates a clear understanding of the sometimes confused way young adults learn from and are impacted by the actions and interactions of those around them..... Most YA readers will want to spend as much time as they can in Sylvia's world."
"Ketchen captures, with humour and pathos, the developing personality and growing pains of a not quite fifteen-year-old girl who would just like to be normal…. The strength of this book lies in Ketchen’s examination of some topics that parents and children may find difficult to discuss. What does it mean to be normal or disordered anyhow? …. Ketchen’s writing is fast-paced, compelling and full of surprises. Made That Way can be read in one sitting, but Sylvia’s persistence and creativity in overcoming her life’s challenges will inspire the reader for a lifetime."