Warning: Here be Spoilers
Title: The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls
Author: Anton DiSclafani
Length: 390 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Why I read it: Book club selection from 2014
What it’s About: in 1930, sixteen year old Thea Atwell is sent to the Riding Camp/ Boarding School after an accident in the family threatens to disgrace her.
The Good: Throughout the story there are hints that there was more to Thea’s story than what she was telling. I kept reading, not because I wanted to know what the big tragic, disgracing secret was, but because I wanted to see how it would come out. I think Thea’s only real redeeming quality was when it came to her friendships with some of the other girls at the camp. He bunkate, I guess I could call them. She was loyal to a select few of them.
The Bad: Thea was such an inconsistent character. She was selfish, and I did not feel sorry for her at all. Some in my book club argued that she was the way she was simply because she was sheltered, but I didn’t see it quite like that. True, she had only ever been in the company of her twin brother, and her cousin Georgie, but that is no excuse for her actions, especially her actions while at Yonahlossee. I understand that she got punished for sleeping with her cousin. but I don’t understand why her brother didn’t get punished/sent away for beating said cousin so badly that he got brain damage. As for Thea, it seems that sending her away for sleeping with Georgie didn’t work because she ends up sleeping with the headmaster of the school.
Final Thoughts: This book was not what I expected. Not at all. I was disappointed by the book and wanted to either slap, sling, or shake Thea throughout the whole thing. There were parts I didn’t quite understand, like why set it at a riding camp, especially seeing as the fact that there were horses and riding a sort of after thought. And did Thea befriend the headmaster’s daughters simply because she developed a crush on him, Or did she genuinely like them?