It's not easy transitioning into adulthood, and certainly not for a 15-year old southern society young lady in 1930. The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls introduces us to Theodora "Thea" Atwell, narrator of this coming of age novel. Thea has lived an idyllic, autonomous childhood with her parents and twin brother in rural Florida until she becomes the center of a scandal and is sent off to boarding school.
Thea is angry with her parents for sending her away, but she takes on the challenge of this new, foreign environment with poise. At times she is a youthful spirit, and at others she is wise beyond her years. She must learn to navigate the social strata of wealthy southern girls in this North Carolina landscape. She is a quick study and soon discovers who her allies and adversaries are. She is most at ease when in the riding ring as she expertly commands her steed, evoking the confidence of her youthful roaming at home in Florida.
Thea is a combination of innocence and shame, and author Anton DiSclafani artfully combines these traits into an authentic character. The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is a well-written book that gives nothing away. It is filled with suggestion, and gives credit to the reader to reach the correct conclusions.
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Vickie's rating: 3 stars