The Girls of No Return

 
0.0
 
4.3 (2)
1175 1
The Girls of No Return
Author(s)
Age Range
14+
Release Date
February 01, 2012
ISBN
978-0545310260
Buy This Book
      
CUT meets HATCHET in this lacerating debut about girls, knives, and redemption.

The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area stretches 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.

User reviews

2 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0  (2)
Characters 
 
4.5  (2)
Writing Style 
 
4.5  (2)
Already have an account? or Create an account
No Return
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
This book does not sugarcoat its messages, nor does Erin Saldin attempt to make the reader feel good about herself. This isn’t a happy book; you don’t want to cuddle it and if you do end up liking the characters, you probably don’t want to hug them. The Girls of No Return is honest, sharp, and dark. It isn’t an action-driven novel, and the story unfolds slowly and, at times, uncomfortably. Above all, though, it is brilliant in its depth of emotion and style of execution.

Originally, I’d expected this book to be something along the lines of Survive by Alex Morel—girl lost in mountains, faces demons and ultimately finds her way out. I was wrong. If anything, this book reminded me of Courtney Summers’ and Jennifer Brown’s novels (with, perhaps, a hint of Imaginary Girls thrown in for good measure). At its core, The Girls of No Return is about the complicated relationships between teen girls, what friendship means, what it means to be honest with yourself. Saldin looks inside her characters and shows them all to be twisted, damaged people. In many ways this was an exhausting book to read, simply because of the raw emotions being portrayed.

The narrating character, Lida, has been sent to a “wilderness therapy” school as her dad’s last-ditch effort to fix her. Lida is broken and she’s tired of trying to make it work. She doesn’t engage in group therapy and she manages to alienate her cabinmates and most of the other students. Everyone, that is, except for two other girls. First there’s Boone, a rebel with a past she wears like a badge of honor. Boone doesn’t take crap from anyone, but for whatever reason, she decides to trust Lida with her secrets. And then there’s Gia, glamorous, enigmatic, and beautiful—everything Lida’s ever wanted to be. It doesn’t take long until Lida abandons Boone to chase after Gia, but Boone, true to character, won’t be left behind so easily.

Really, the interplay and dynamics between Lida and the two other girls was fantastic. As a reader, I rotated through alternately liking/hating all three of them. You know from the beginning that Gia isn’t being honest, but you also know that Boone probably isn’t trustworthy either. And Lida, stuck in the middle, is so far in denial that she wouldn’t know what a true friendship is if it jumped up and bit her.

But something has to give, and Lida has to make a choice between her “friends”—Boone or Gia?

And that choice is where we run into my single greatest problem with the novel: in the end, Erin Saldin does tell the reader which of the two girls Lida chooses. The final chapter, plus epilogue and prologue (the prologue is at the end in this particular novel, for reasons that become apparent whilst reading said prologue), were extranneous to the story, in my opinion. The second to last chapter was perfect. I think that it would have been better to leave the name out. Because in the end, I don’t think that WHO Lida picked made the slightest difference, because the end result would have been the same either way.

It’s like I saw the opening for a brilliant conclusion, but Saldin didn’t see it and just went for the most obvious route, and in doing so deadened a lot of the emotional impact this book had delivered previously.

The Girls of No Return is a book that makes you think. It’s full of emotional tension and unapologetic sadness and trauma. Like I said, Saldin doesn’t attempt to make the reader comfortable with her topic, but that doesn’t matter. She says what she needs to say, and she says it very well. This is a story about friendship that really goes beyond anything else written on the subject.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
No Return
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
This book does not sugarcoat its messages, nor does Erin Saldin attempt to make the reader feel good about herself. This isn’t a happy book; you don’t want to cuddle it and if you do end up liking the characters, you probably don’t want to hug them. The Girls of No Return is honest, sharp, and dark. It isn’t an action-driven novel, and the story unfolds slowly and, at times, uncomfortably. Above all, though, it is brilliant in its depth of emotion and style of execution.

Originally, I’d expected this book to be something along the lines of Survive by Alex Morel—girl lost in mountains, faces demons and ultimately finds her way out. I was wrong. If anything, this book reminded me of Courtney Summers’ and Jennifer Brown’s novels (with, perhaps, a hint of Imaginary Girls thrown in for good measure). At its core, The Girls of No Return is about the complicated relationships between teen girls, what friendship means, what it means to be honest with yourself. Saldin looks inside her characters and shows them all to be twisted, damaged people. In many ways this was an exhausting book to read, simply because of the raw emotions being portrayed.

The narrating character, Lida, has been sent to a “wilderness therapy” school as her dad’s last-ditch effort to fix her. Lida is broken and she’s tired of trying to make it work. She doesn’t engage in group therapy and she manages to alienate her cabinmates and most of the other students. Everyone, that is, except for two other girls. First there’s Boone, a rebel with a past she wears like a badge of honor. Boone doesn’t take crap from anyone, but for whatever reason, she decides to trust Lida with her secrets. And then there’s Gia, glamorous, enigmatic, and beautiful—everything Lida’s ever wanted to be. It doesn’t take long until Lida abandons Boone to chase after Gia, but Boone, true to character, won’t be left behind so easily.

Really, the interplay and dynamics between Lida and the two other girls was fantastic. As a reader, I rotated through alternately liking/hating all three of them. You know from the beginning that Gia isn’t being honest, but you also know that Boone probably isn’t trustworthy either. And Lida, stuck in the middle, is so far in denial that she wouldn’t know what a true friendship is if it jumped up and bit her.

But something has to give, and Lida has to make a choice between her “friends”—Boone or Gia?

And that choice is where we run into my single greatest problem with the novel: in the end, Erin Saldin does tell the reader which of the two girls Lida chooses. The final chapter, plus epilogue and prologue (the prologue is at the end in this particular novel, for reasons that become apparent whilst reading said prologue), were extranneous to the story, in my opinion. The second to last chapter was perfect. I think that it would have been better to leave the name out. Because in the end, I don’t think that WHO Lida picked made the slightest difference, because the end result would have been the same either way.

It’s like I saw the opening for a brilliant conclusion, but Saldin didn’t see it and just went for the most obvious route, and in doing so deadened a lot of the emotional impact this book had delivered previously.

The Girls of No Return is a book that makes you think. It’s full of emotional tension and unapologetic sadness and trauma. Like I said, Saldin doesn’t attempt to make the reader comfortable with her topic, but that doesn’t matter. She says what she needs to say, and she says it very well. This is a story about friendship that really goes beyond anything else written on the subject.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Imber (Book One of The Thanatos Trilogy)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The locks are failing. The...
Awesome Dog 5000 (#1)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Marty, Ralph, and Skyler might make the ultimate secret combo...
Althea Gibson: The Story of Tennis' Fleet-of-Foot Girl
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Althea Gibson was the quickest, tallest, most fearless athlete in...
The Big Game
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Danny Owens is dedicating his seventh-grade season to his Super...
Race to the Sun
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lately, seventh grader Nizhoni Begay has been able to detect...
Suffragette: The Battle for Equality
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Imprisonment, hunger strikes, suffrajitsu — the decades-long fight for women’s...
Catherine's War
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A magnificent narrative inspired by a true survival story that...
Dangerous Alliance
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Lady Victoria Aston has everything she could want: an older...
Dugout: The Zombie Steals Home
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Twins Stacy and Gina Cavallaro are on rival little league...
The Fountains of Silence
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco...
Dinosnores (Boynton on Board)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
“Honk SHOOOOOO! Honk SHOOOOOO! . . .” ...
Good Day, Good Night
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Now in a sturdy board book format, perfect for little...
TBH, This May Be TMI (TBH, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Told entirely in text messages, the second book in this...
Creep
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
The haunting tale of a family that moves into...
Girl at Heart
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
As the daughter of a successful Major League pitcher,...
The Last of the Firedrakes
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
She never felt like she belonged…until magic pulled her...

Latest Member Reviews

Girl at Heart
 
4.7
"I know better than to start a Kelly Oram book at bedtime. I know better, yet I do it with..."
Dating Nashville
 
5.0
"If you read the first series, Redefining Me, you got a glimpse at these characters and probably love them just..."
The F Word (Redefining Me book 1)
 
5.0
"'Dating My Best Friend' (former title: 'The F Word') by Michelle MacQueen and Ann Maree Craven delves deeply into themes..."
Pawns (The Wielders of Arantha)
 
5.0
"Pawns by Patrick Hodges is the first book in the Wielders of Arantha series. Complex and creative don’t begin to..."
The Reader
 
5.0
"I devoured The Reader by M.K. Harkins. There’s no other way to describe it. I read it in one sitting..."
Adaptive
 
4.8
"The story: Lune Avery has survived the Elite Trials and escaped the clutches of her tyrant father,..."
 
4.8
"This darker and grittier sequel of Issaura's Claws, steers readers on a journey outside the kingdom of Elysia into the..."
Winter's Captive
 
5.0
"YA fantasy has always been my favorite. However, the past few months, I'd been in a slump. I struggled getting..."
The Fractured Empire
 
5.0
"I don’t know where to start! The Fractured Empire by Robin D. Mahle is the first in the World Apart..."
Tin Men
 
4.8
"Tin Men by Amalie Jahn The story: After losing his estranged father, Charlie Johnson’s..."
Tin Men
 
4.5
"Would you risk your future to discover your past? What I Loved: The premise of..."
Perfectly You
 
4.3
"What I loved: Ivy's character is strong, driven, and even a bit inconsiderate at times. Giving her character flaws..."
COLD DAY IN THE SUN
 
4.3
"An adorable story that has a lot to say. The story: Holland is the only..."
Lily and the Wedding Date Mistake
 
4.0
"'Lily and the Wedding Date Mistake' by Seven Steps is a story of friendship lost and found between main characters..."
Bea and the Bad Boy
 
4.8
"'Bea and the Bad Boy' by Anna Catherine Field is a page-turning story that evolves from two people who don't..."
Igloo High
 
3.8
"'Igloo High' by Jacinthe Dessureault has many of the typical aspects that young adult novels contain, including a popular girl,..."
Super Powers
 
4.5
"The story: Hot on the heels of the event of Super Humans (Book One), we get inside..."
Perfectly Oblivious
 
4.3
"This was a sweet high school love story centered around basketball and missed intentions. What I liked: ..."
The Kilwade Tragedy
 
5.0
"Before I start this review, I do want to let you all know that this book is trigger heavy. The..."
Colliding Skies
 
4.3
" What I loved: The cover, obviously, is gorgeous and eye catching. Skye's character is a genuine..."