The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls
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“This summer’s first romantic page turner.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
Named a most anticipated book for Summer 2013 by The Wall Street Journaland Publishers Weekly and USA Today, NPR, and People summer reads pick
From the author of The After Party, a lush, sexy, evocative debut novel of family secrets and girls’-school rituals, set in the 1930s South.
It is 1930, the midst of the Great Depression. After her mysterious role in a family tragedy, passionate, strong-willed Thea Atwell, age fifteen, has been cast out of her Florida home, exiled to an equestrienne boarding school for Southern debutantes. High in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with its complex social strata ordered by money, beauty, and girls’ friendships, the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is a far remove from the free-roaming, dreamlike childhood Thea shared with her twin brother on their family’s citrus farm—a world now partially shattered. As Thea grapples with her responsibility for the events of the past year that led her here, she finds herself enmeshed in a new order, one that will change her sense of what is possible for herself, her family, her country.
Weaving provocatively between home and school, the narrative powerfully unfurls the true story behind Thea’s expulsion from her family, but it isn’t long before the mystery of her past is rivaled by the question of how it will shape her future. Part scandalous love story, part heartbreaking family drama, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is an immersive, transporting page-turner—a vivid, propulsive novel about sex, love, family, money, class, home, and horses, all set against the ominous threat of the Depression—and the major debut of an important new writer.
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly
A coming of age story, with a bite.
Set in the eve of the Great Depression, this is so much more than a story of teenage girls at a riding camp. Wrapped around a history lesson, and evoking the essence of Old Florida, is a morality play on fortunes and innocence lost. Riding plays a key role- of the only thing you can control- how the thrill of doing well provides satisfaction and solace, in a world in which you otherwise have little say.
I enjoyed the description of the south in the 1930s and the description of riding. Somewhat horsey myself, I would've loved to have attended this school/camp.
Thea grows up in an enormous house on an estate in central Florida completely cut off from the rest of the world with only her brother and cousin as companions. This proves to be the lesson of the novel- that she is cut off from the rest of the world and because of this has great difficulty connecting to others.
Ultimately I didn't like Thea very much. She is selfish and manipulative almost to the extent of being mentally ill. While I enjoy characters who are complicated, I could not sympathize with her in a real way. Even her skills as a rider are undermined by her harsh treatment of her horse in a final competition. And while others seem to pay for their sins she never does which I found troubling.
Still the setting alone is worth the trouble with the main character.
It's a breath of fresh air after all the crap I've read from the most downloaded lists lately. It reminds me why I enjoy reading. I hope someone adapts it to the screen. 50 shade-ish books are so shallow compared.