Cover of Take the Reins, the first novel in the series
|Original title||Sasha Silver|
|Cover artist||Monica Stevenson|
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster|
|Published||January 27, 2009|
Canterwood Crest is a series novels by author Jessica Burkhart, premiering with the 2009 book Take the Reins. The series follows young student Sasha Silver as she enters the amazing Canterwood Crest Academy, an elite school housing highly competitive equestrian riders. Including impossible school work to top that. While attending Canterwood, Sasha encounters a disparate collection of students, including the snobbish alpha rider, Heather Fox, and eventual love interests named Jacob and Eric. As events transpire, the team members attempt to work together amidst a slew of personality clashes and romantic conflicts. In her later books, the series switches focus to new characters Drew and Lauren.
Former Connecticut student Sasha Silver plans to join the school's equestrian team. However, she is met with resistance from three popular members known as the "Trio" (Heather, Julia, and Alison), who view her as a threat to their social status. Internal conflict sets the stage for the story, with the initial focus being Sasha's efforts to make the team and sustain her morale and good academics. In the midst of things, a boy named Jacob begins to earn her romantic attention. However, other romantic interests also enter the story, leading to love triangles and other personal matters.
Burkhart was inspired by a combination of equestrian experience during her youth and a fondness for writing as she grew older. After much of her freelance work was published by numerous magazines, she entered 2006's National Novel Writing Month and completed a first draft of Take the Reins. In January 2007, a literary agent offered to read the story after viewing the author's blog. Burkhart was later signed by the agent, which eventually led to a four-book deal with Simon & Schuster.
While promoting the first novel, Burkhart maintained an online presence throughout 2008, blogging and vlogging with regard to the production of her work and the publishing process. In April, the author reported that photoshoots for her covers had been set in motion. By September, Burkhart had received an advance reader copy of Take the Reins while working on the subsequent novels.
In December, it was announced that an additional four novels would gradually follow the fourth book, Triple Fault. Later in the month, an online video trailer for Take the Reins was released, featuring photos of scenery and the character models. Trailers for other releases followed.
Sasha Silver- a girl who comes to Canterwood Crest. Sasha used to ride at The Union. She has a horse named Charm. She is also obsessed with lip gloss and her favorite is Watermelon Lip Smackers®. She is from a small town called Union and is usually teased about being from a small town by Heather Fox. Her roomie and BFF is Paige Parker until a very serious argument which causes her to move out of their room.
Callie Harper- Sasha's friend, who befriended Sasha in book one (Take the Reins). Before Callie started at Canterwood, she rode for the elite New England Saddle Club. She has a horse named Black Jack. Later in the series, Sasha and Callie are no longer best friends but only team-mates. She ended up missing out on a spot in YENT at first because of Jacob (Sasha's almost-boyfriend)
Heather Fox- a spitfire of a girl who dislikes Sasha at first, but begins to like her throughout the series. Leader of the clique called 'The Trio'. She has a horse named Aristocrat. She is very serious about riding and despises Jasmine King. She lives in NYC and is very fashionable.
Julia Myer- 2nd member of 'The Trio'. Friendships come second to her, riding being the first. Her and Alison are somewhat "sidekicks" of Heather. She has a horse named Trix. Julia gets expelled from Canterwood Crest after creating blog, in Scandals, Rumors, Lies after she was not picked for the YENT team.
Alison Robb- 3rd member of 'The Trio'. She's very quiet, but she observes everyone and everything around her with great detail. Her and Julia are somewhat "sidekicks" of Heather. Alison is a lot kinder to Sasha and her friends than Julia. She has a horse named Sunstruck.
Jasmine King- a mean girl that Sasha and the Canterwood gang met one day at a show. She takes great delight in insulting students from Canterwood Crest. She has a horse named Phoenix. She will do anything to win, even putting her horse at risk.
Jacob Schwartz- a boy that Sasha meets at Canterwod Crest. She has a very big crush on him. he likes her and ends up sitting right next to her in Mr. Ramirez's class. He is afraid of horses. Jacob has an on-off relationship with Sasha, but in Unfriendly Competition, has a permanent relationship with Sasha.
Eric Rodriguez- Eric is another boy Sasha meets. They both become good friends, as Eric is a mid-year transfer student. Eric has a relationship with Sasha, but they break up in Little White Lies after he catches Jacob kissing Sasha in her dorm. They agree to still be friends and later in the series Eric help Jacob do something for Sasha. Eric is a rider, but doesn't own a horse, only riding a school one; Luna.
Paige Parker - Paige was Sasha's room-mate, and former best friend. They both met in Take the Reins but their friendship got out of hand, and things did not end well with Sasha and Paige. Paige now lives with Geena in her dorm. Paige stars in a show called "Teen Cuisine" as she always baked goodies for Sasha.
Brit Chan - Brit is Sasha's new room-mate where their dorm is: Orchard Hall. She arrives in Elite Ambition and is called the new "IT" girl. She specializes in dressage, and clicks with Sasha in day one. She is a transfer student. She is also from a small town, like Sasha, which is why they click as friends so fast.
Welcome the New Class
Lauren Towers - Lauren is a straight A student, her fave color is sky blue, and works hard at everything. She loves decorating her dorm in soft colors and loves decor. Lauren has had an accident in the past, but nothing is going to stop her. She looks up to Sasha, and is best friends with Khloe, Lexa, Clare, Brielle and Ana. Her boyfriend is Drew Adams, and her ex-boyfriend is Taylor. She loves tea; her favorite kind being Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride from the Seasonal Collection.
Khloe Kinsella - Khloe is Lauren's BFF, and is a drama queen! She loves acting, and wants her name to be on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Khloe is loyal to her friends, and fierce and is the person to keep Lauren laughing. Khloe is Lauren's dorm room-mate. she also owns a horse named Ever, a Hanoverian Mare.
Lexa Reed - One of the sweetest girls on campus, Lexa is serious about riding but never gets competitive with her friends. She and Lauren share an addiction with Hob Nobs. Lexa previously lived in London. She owns a horse named Honor, a Strawberry Roan mare.
Clare Bryant - Best friends with Khloe and Riley, is often caught stuck-in-the-middle whenever Riley and Khloe are not getting along with each other. Which is all the time. She's a great mediator, and the kind of girl who's a true friend. She can never stand to be away from her gelding; Fuego.
Riley Edwards - Riley is enemy number one at Canterwood. She and Lauren have never gotten along. She is tough in the arena and lets everyone know she means business. Like Khloe she loves acting. The shared love of theater with Khloe causes some serious off-stage drama between Riley and Khloe. She owns her own horse named Adonis who is a gray gelding.
Taylor Frost - Taylor is Lauren's ex-boyfriend from Yates Preparatory Academy in Union, Connecticut. He makes an unexpected appearance and makes someone mad.
Brielle Monaco - Brielle or Bri as known is Lauren's best friend from Yates Preparatory School, and in Union. She makes an unexpected appearance at the unlikeliest place of all.
Carina Johansson - Carina is a transfer student from Sweden! She came over to CCA, to train with Mr. Conner in the foreign exchange program. She excels in dressage, but when Lauren and Khloe dig into Carina's past, they realize there is more than meets the eye. They become good friends when they bond over their love of horses and dressage.
- "JessicaBurkhart.com". jessicaburkhart.com. Retrieved December 27, 2008.
- "Jessica Burkhart interview". The Urban Muse. July 2007. Retrieved December 27, 2008.
- Jessica, Burkhart. "Jessica Burkhart Blog". jessicaburkhart.blogspot.com. Retrieved December 27, 2008.
- "Elite Ambition teaser trailer". jessicaburkhart.blogspot.com. August 23, 2010. Retrieved November 7, 2010.