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The Girls of No Return [Hardcover]

Erin Saldin

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Price: 10.85 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Hardcover. Pub Date: 2012 Pages: 345 Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books CUT meets HATCHET in this lacerating debut about girls. Knives and Redemption The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area stretches its across two million Acres in northern Idaho. In its heart sits the Alice Marshall School. where fifty teenage girls come to escape their histories and themselves. Lida Wallace has tried to negate herself in every way possible. At Alice Marshall. she meets Elsa Boone. a fierce native Idahoan; Jules . who seems too healthy to belong at the school; and Gia Longchamps. whose glamour entrances the entire camp. As the girls prepare for a wilderness trek. Lida is both thrilled and terrified to be chosen as Gia's friend. But everyone has their secrets- -their Things they try to protect; and when those come out. the knives do as well. THE GIRLS OF NO RETURN is a bold and po...

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique.. I really liked it! 23 Feb 2012
By Amanda Welling - Published on
First Impressions: I didn't hear too much about this novel before I decided I wanted to read and review it. It caught my eye while I was browsing inside of Barnes & Nobles on day, and I was super lucky to receive a review copy from the publisher. I liked the comparison to the book Hatchet, which is a personal favorite of mine. I don't read too many contemporary novels, so I don't have much to compare this one to. I really like the cover art on this book since it seems kind of dark and mysterious.

First 50 Pages: You would never guess that this book is the author's first novel. Her writing is outstanding and it will immediately pull you into the story. The writing is almost lyrical, with a nice and easy flow to it. Each character has a unique voice, coupled with various plot twists and turns, made this book a definite page-turner. This book did begin on the slower side, but it quickly picked up the pace a few chapters into the story.

Characters & Plot: The plot follows Lida, a sixteen year old girl, and a multitude of other girls, who had been through some serious issues in the past, and it still dealing with difficult situations. Lida is depressed and feels very alone, which she tries to relieve by cutting herself. Her cutting results in her being sent to the Alice Marshall School, where other teens with similar issues and other difficulties are residing. The school is more like a rehabilitation center where these teens can hopefully deal with their issues and move past their issues in a supposedly safe environment.

The writing style of this book was very unique and something that I don't see very much or very often. The Girls of No Return is an epistolary novel, written from Lida's point of view of what went down at the school, from some point in the future. It was obvious to me that some terrible things happened, but things are revealed slowly throughout the course of the story.

I love flawed characters and this book has a ton of them. Each character has layers upon layers of personality, which make it hard to decide who can be trusted and who is being manipulative and undeserving of trust. Lida makes some very unwise decisions in the beginning of the novel which becomes worse as the story progresses and it leads to a major event at the end of the book. Things really hit the fan, so to speak.

Final Thoughts: As someone who doesn't like many contemporary stories, I enjoyed this one. It was unique in its own way and I loved how the book ended. This is no fairy tale, and it has no real happy ending. You aren't going to find fairies, unicorns, and rainbows here. The whole book felt very real to me, especially the characters and the situations that they are put into, or put themselves into. It wasn't as dark and deep as I expected it to be, but it still had a little edge to it. I would definitely give it a recommendation to the contemporary readers!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Live To Read 7 Feb 2012
By Chels - Published on
A new author, but a book that could have been written by someone with many published books behind her belt. Not too many books focus mainly upon female friendship in young adult/teen books these days. This novel's main plot concerns the implications, complications, and intricacies of female friendship. The reader will be absorbed into the book within a few chapters; the main character, Lida, has a somewhat difficult, reserved personality, but she is captivating. The reader will not always understand why Lida makes certain decisions, but some things are better left to the imagination.

Lida has been sent to a school for girls...difficult girls who do not like or do well in typical schooling environments. Her first few days there are somewhat rocky, but she begins to adjust gradually. The reader will be introduced to the other secondary characters, ones who will be around Lida 24/7. They have such varying personalities that it is easy to keep them straight. Some the reader will take a liking to, while others remain more enigmatic or have a pretty long mean streak. The author creates these characters carefully to fulfill the plot's purpose.

The events were moderated. They were not particularly fast all of the time, but they weren't slow. The author purposely gave the events a certain pace depending on the undertone at the time. The setting, the Alice Marshall School for girls, lends itself perfectly to the female friendship plot, it will be easy to concentrate on the point of the novel. A reader will be eagerly awaiting this book's release, recommended to young adult/teen readers.

*Complimentary copy received for this review, does not affect my opinion in any way*
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Girls of No Return 7 Feb 2012
By Becky - Published on
Although I don't usually read books in the young adult genre, now that I have grand daughters this age I occasionally pick one up to see if it would be appropriate to recommend to them. I am so glad I read this exciting and thought provoking novel. The author captured perfectly that wonderful, terrible confusion that exists in those teen years. The characters were well drawn, a bit prickly, but understandably so, it transported even me back to those confusing times. An great read for anyone!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Feelings 10 Aug 2012
By Bri - Published on
Erin Saldin definantly has a way with words. The descriptions of the wilderness of Idaho,the metaphors and similes most people do not even dream of, and the ever twisting plot that forced me into completing the story in two days just to find out what happens is the reason I give two stars instead of one.

The problem is I know what it is like to be a struggling little teenage girl and I found this sooooo hard to relate to.

The main character, Lida, is like an eight yr old stuck in a sixteen yr old's body. I later discover this is probably due to the fact that her tragedy occured at eight.

Then more girls with "problems" are introduced at the Alice Marshall School for Girls (...with problems).

The worst thing about these girls is their language. They are the sweetest troubled little things and they try too hard to look bad. Saldin did not do a good job of making the characters fit their lives.

Their relationships are a dead giveaway of their confusing sweetness. On Lida's first day the girls pick on her a bit and then try and become her bff's.

It was annoying how girls with problems were portrayed. Their emotions trumped had some lusting after one another...others fawning over the pretty one who everyone wants as a bff...and still others who are so naughty that they have to find buddies to chill out with and talk about their wickedness.

It is not a book that flatters females or has strong female characters...or at least deep fiery ones like...Wuthering Heights. The author almost achieves that...almost.

I could tell the whole story...but I want to leave the option of reading the book out there for those adventerous YA readers who might want to try it. I will add that there is a darkness over the whole book even with the "sweetness".

* mini story spoiler*
Self harm is described in such a cliche poetic way it makes me want to scream. Lida can not stand being alone in the wilderness yet she supposedly has been isolating herself for years and adores the wilderness??? She is such a shallow baby the ending may annoy you...a lot.
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, emotional book 10 July 2012
By Donna G - Published on
THE GIRLS OF NO RETURN is a highly compelling issue-esque book that isn't an "issue" book at all -- it's set at a school for troubled girls (who aren't quite troubled/criminal enough for juvie), so the problems are varied but not in-your-face, since most are kept secret or revealed in pieces.

All the characters, including the main character, Lida, are complex and imperfect and thoroughly believable, and Lida's POV/narration is so flawed and dense at times that I wanted to reach through the book and shake her -- which definitely means that Saldin did her job well. There are some scenes where the emotional manipulation going on is so pitch perfect I literally felt my insides twist up in disgust.

Though TGoNR isn't action-packed in the traditional sense, it's a deftly emotional pageturner. (Did I just use that phrase? Yeah, I did.) I never found myself bored of the story -- actually, I kept making excuses to pick it up again to read "just a little bit more." Without a doubt, TGoNR is a stellar contemporary debut.

This review was originally posted at [...]
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