By Anton DiSclafani
This is the author’s debut book, and has received a lot of attention from the press. The setting is 1930, the midst of the Great Depression. After her mysterious role in a family tragedy, passionate, strong-willed Thea Atwell, age fifteen, has been cast out of her Florida home, exiled to an equestrienne boarding school for Southern debutantes located in the mountains of North Carolina. The story weaves between home and school, revealing the true story behind Thea’s expulsion from her family. Thea comes across as a complicated, imperfect, totally screwed up character who still manages, at times, to be loving, brave and kind. I did not appreciate the change-up from a coming of age story of innocence, to ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ graphic descriptions of Thea’s encounters both at home and at her exclusive boarding school In the end, I had the sense that the author wanted to write something bold and empowering but ended up with something strange and sad.