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The Girls of No Return Hardcover – February 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

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: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #967,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Welling on February 23, 2012
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Becky on February 7, 2012
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful 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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By Pink Amy on March 8, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Grade: B-

Lida's father and stepmother leave her in the wilderness at The Alice Marshall School, the last stop before juvie. On the first night, cabinmate Boone chops off her hair in the middle of the night. Nobody messes with Boone. Lida is no longer the new girl when the pretty, mysterious Gia arrives. Lida immediately develops a girl crush on the new girl, who gets off to a rough start with Boone. As Lida becomes close with both girls, who are increasingly antagonist, trouble looms in the air.

Lida's first person narrative has the believable voice of a sullen, wounded teen. With each chapter I discovered a new layer to her character. More cerebral than talkative, she is closed off to even her allies and at times unkind to her classmates. The other characters are more of a mystery, I felt frustrated not to have more backstory on why the girls were at the school, we had a few snippets of information, a little about Boone and almost nothing about Gia. Erin Saldin could have done a better job developing the secondary characters.

THE GIRLS OF NO RETURN is bogged down with a lot of setting description, which slowed down the pace. Some of the words and sentence structure Lida used in her narration seemed a bit mature for her years.

Themes: boarding school, juvenile crime, nature, friendship, family conflict

Despite my frustrations, I enjoyed the story. The ending was powerful and Lida certainly grew as a character.
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