Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani

After a horrific scandal tears her family apart, sheltered, headstrong, fifteen-year-old Thea Atwell is banished from her beloved childhood home on a citrus farm in Florida to the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, isolated deep in the North Carolina mountains.  Forced to leave behind her twin brother, Sam, her older cousin Georgie, and, perhaps worst of all, her beloved pony, Sasi, Thea is exiled from everyone and everything she has ever known.

With the Great Depression just beginning, Thea and the other girls at camp, all the daughters of wealthy Southern men, are sheltered from the worst of the storm tearing apart the rest of the nation.  Although Thea hates that she has been sent away from Sam, Georgie, Sasi, and the Florida heat, the mountains of North Carolina are spectacular, she is surrounded by horses, for the first time is receiving formal equestrian instruction, and is discovering how to makes friends with girls her own age.  Although her arrival so late in the summer means gossip about trouble with a boy at home is rampant among the Yonahlossee girls, the real reason behind Thea's late enrollment is known only by the headmaster, Henry Holmes, and his wife Beth, an old boarding school friend of Thea's mother.  Free to start fresh, Thea must decide if she can forgive herself for what happened - and her family for refusing to forgive her - and become a new, different girl, or if she will allow her desires for the things she cannot have to once again consume her.

This suspenseful family drama slowly reveals its secrets against the spectacular scenery of the Appalachian mountains and the late summer heat of Florida.  Beautifully written, anyone who loves period drama, Southern fiction, or can't resist a boarding school coming-of-age story (really, who can? And this one has horses!) should put The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls on their summer reading list!

The Yonahlassee Riding Camp for Girls will be published on June 4, 2013.  The library received its advance reading copy from the publisher.  Check CountyCat in late spring to place a hold on this Southern novel!