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The Girls of No Return Hardcover – February 1, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for The Girls of No Return

"Saldin brings a polished descriptive style to the expansive wilderness setting, which subtly mirrors the shadowed layers of each girl's consciousness. Those expecting a violent confrontation won't be disappointed; through it, Lida learns the meaning of real friendship and forgiveness." —Publishers Weekly

*"Secrets and lies, betrayal and trust, friends and enemies—there are weighty themes at the heart of this bold, compelling debut novel...this psychological mind-bender is raw, gripping, and deftly rolled out by a writer-to-watch." —Booklist, starred review

*"This debut is richly rewarding and will linger for its subtle examination of human behavior and emotions—love, trust, guilt and forgiveness...A smashing debut." —Kirkus, starred review

About the Author

Erin Saldin went on her first backpacking trip in northern Idaho at age fourteen. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times and the Best New American Voices series, as well as multiple literary magazines. She lives in Missoula, Montana.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (February 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545310261
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545310260
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,281,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover
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!
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By Chels on February 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
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*
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Format: Hardcover
"I know I need to tell my story--our story--but I don't know how. Because the truth, see--it's a messy thing. Sometimes the only way to clean it up is to hurtle through each decision you made, trying to find the one that changed everything. Maybe then you can start to fix it."

The Girls of No Return, Erin Saldin's debut, was not what I expected. I expected my heart to be pounding, my adrenaline to be rushing, and to be affected by it on a visceral level. It didn't happen that way. Instead, Lida's story drew me in slowly (very slowly...we're talking you better have some perseverance and patience because the first half of this book is extremely subdued), chewed me up, and spit me back out again reflecting on women and our relationships to one another in ways that I had not expected.

Our story begins at the end--with an epilogue. Lida is determined to tell her story, reveal her Thing. There are two mysteries, two events to uncover. The Thing that brought her to Alice Marshall School, deep in the River of No Return Wilderness Area of Idaho, and the Thing that sent her home. The school is Lida's chance at redemption. Alice Marshall is not quite reform school, maybe more reform school-lite, where troubled girls are given a chance to make peace with their past and form a brighter future. Lida is determined to skate by, tucked away in her own solitude, but the surprising allure of the glamorous Gia, and the persistence of Lida's bunk mates Boone and Jules work to draw her out. Soon Lida finds herself pulled in various directions, unsure of her loyalties and feelings--she never realized she could cause so much damage to anyone besides herself.

Like The Girls of No Return in general, I really had to ease in to liking Lida.
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