“Set in the desolate wilderness of rural Idaho, this novel recounts how Lida Wallace is sent to the Alice Marshall School for Girls where she is expected to 'find herself' among 50 cohabitants, all of whom are trying to hide, shed, or forget parts of themselves and their pasts. Reminiscent of the works of Laurie Halse Anderson and Gary Paulson, this is a story of a suffering girl, who, in spite of herself, learns to face tough issues and survive.”
— Stephenie McCollum, Copperfield's Books, Santa Rosa, CA
The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area stretches across two million acres in northern Idaho. In its heart sits the Alice Marshall School, where fifty teenage girls come to escape their histories and themselves.
Lida Wallace has tried to negate herself in every way possible. At Alice Marshall, she meets Elsa Boone, a fierce native Idahoan; Jules, who seems too healthy to belong at the school; and Gia Longchamps, whose glamour entrances the entire camp. As the girls prepare for a wilderness trek, Lida is both thrilled and terrified to be chosen as Gia's friend. But everyone has their secrets--their "Things" they try to protect; and when those come out, the knives do as well.
The Girls of No Return is a bold and powerful debut.
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.
“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 Reviews, starred review
“Secrets and lies, betrayal and trust, friends and enemies–there are weighty themes at the heart of this bold, compelling debut novel… So much more than a typical problem novel, this psychological mind-bender is raw, gripping, and deftly rolled out by a writer-to-watch.” -- Booklist, starred review
“[A] smart, absorbing story about damaged girls realizing how hard it is to connect with other people when you don't trust anyone.” -- New York Times Book Review
“Saldin presents the complex, layered terrain of relationships that develop among teens who share cabins and cigarettes and bathhouse duty but often know only the bare minimum about one another's former lives…. The remote setting enhances the palpable sense of danger; some of the girls fear bears or mountain lions, but, really, the scariest thing they could confront in those woods is one another. And themselves.” -- Horn Book
“This debut novel is compelling…. Believable situations, conversations, and setting make this novel a must-read for not only the story, but the truths. Teens will not be able to put this one down.” -- Library Media Connection