Dear Ms DiSclafani, I really wanted to like your book because I grew up on a farm with a horse and books as my best friends. Your writing style gets in the way of the story. There are more semi-colons in your book than the last 300 that I have read. This would not be such a problem if you were using them correctly. A semicolon is used to link closely related independent clauses with subjects and a verbs. It is not correct to use a semicolon to link a clause and a phrase. "Her boots were navy blue; the only girl among us who didn't have black boots." Correct: "Her boots were navy blue; she was the only girl among us who didn't have black boots." "I cleaned my bridle daily, my saddle weekly; curried Sasi's coat until it shone." Semicolons can be used to connect long, complicated lists, but 3 things hardly qualify. Correct: I cleaned my bridle daily and my saddle weekly; I curried Sasi's coat until it shone." or "I cleaned my bridle daily, soaped my saddle weekly, and curried Sasi's coat until it shone." Two major errors: clause / phrase and me / I: "The woman had been young newly married, probably no more than twenty; not much older than me." Correct: "The woman had been young, newly married, and probably no more than twenty; she was not that much older than I am." If you are not certain whether to use I / me or he / him, simply put the verb in the sentence. For example you have the sentence "I wondered how it would be if Sam had been a girl, like me" If Sam had been a girl like me was?? No, if Sam had been a girl like I ( was ). If you believe this sounds awkward, simply change the sentence structure. Perhaps you could say "If Sam and I had both been girls." A couple of pages later we find: I heard something outside and thought it might be Boone again, not knowing Sissy had gone home. But of course it wouldn't be him.." It should be "But of course it wouldn't be he ( who was outside the window ). Again if you find correct grammar stilted, you could say something like: " But of course he wouldn't be outside the window.." While it is sometimes acceptable to begin a sentence with "and" or "and then", you don't have to use a thousand to make certain the reader knows that ideas are connected or sequential. All of my comments concern narrative portions of the book; I do not critique dialogue in the same way. You could make the excuse that Thea is only a teen so there should be no expectation of her speaking or thinking with excellent grammar. Many authors write from a child's point of view, however, without turning their protagonists into illiterates. Finally my greatest objection is to the tone of the work and various sales descriptions of the book as LUSH, ROMANTIC and SEXY. This is a book about child abuse and incest. This is not a paean to a girl's awakening sexuality. Thea does not have a parent; she is at best a neglected child. She and her cousin Georgie do everything but send up flares as clues to their growing sexual interest. Thea is sexually abused at the hands of an older cousin and is simply sent away as punishment. I know this is the 1930's, but where is the love of a parent for a child? Thea's mother is certainly incapable of parenting, but what about her father? Then she is sexually abused by the headmaster of the school; he is a person in a position of trust. THIS IS ALL CHILD ABUSE!! It is not sexy or romantic. It is not titillating or sweet. Thea seems to save herself in the end. There is no other person in her life who puts her welfare first. I don't think the book has sufficient rage over the repeated abuse of Thea.
A great story about a girl learning how to be her own person and accept herself in the wake of a great family tragedy that seems to circle around her. Thea blames herself for her family falling apart, but when she is sent away she starts to learn to accept what happened and move forward in her life, even if her family can't.
What a debut novel! The writing is crisp, the plotting is on-point, and the family secret? So juicy. I have an autographed copy of this book because I adored it so much.
Character development is evidently not a thing in this novel. (spoilers)
“With Georgie, things had simply happened, one after the next; I’d never had any control. But this time, I had control. This was just a crush.”
This was the shining opportunity for character development, which, sadly, never happened. What could be more empowering for this headstrong young heroine than the realization of her own autonomy? Here was something shiny she wanted, gleaming in front of her, along with a choice: to grab hold of it like a helpless, selfish child, or to choose the hard thing: to care about other people, other families. In this moment, she had the reigns to her own life.
She could have emerged from Yonahlossee having learned that she was no nasty, wrong girl. She would recognize that she was indeed a whole person, with completely normal sexual and romantic desires, with a competitive spirit and perhaps even a compassionate heart. However, the Thea that emerged from this dark novel was severely lacking in that last quality, and was perhaps less mature and more selfish than ever before. So disappointing.
A patron review from the Adult Summer Game: "I enjoyed the way the author unraveled Thea, the main character's wrong doing which got her sent away to riding camp (suspenseful and witty). The message that parents don't always keep their child's best interest at heart is evident through Thea's relationship with her parents. Overall a good book, with strong ending and message."
I was drawn in from the beginning. It kept my attention, and I enjoyed the time setting in the Depression Era.
Writing style draws you in, but somewhat lacking depth and insight. Sort of a cross between "Towelhead" and "I'd Know You Anywhere".
Interesting book. It takes place during the depression but the main character is wealthy. She gets in trouble at home and is sent away to an boarding school/ horse camp. The circumstances are revealed slowly through the story but it is a little predictable. I enjoyed the glimpse into that time and lifestyle.
Starts out interesting, but my the last 100 pages it became predictable.
Was a little too weird and depressing for my taste. That being said it sucks you in from the beginning with the big mystery of why she is being sent away. The book goes back and forth between the past and present and drags on for far too long. I wasn't a huge fan of the main character either and i doubt her supposed love for any horse let alone her own with the abuse she herself admitted to inflicting on them.
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