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The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls

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3.32  ·  Rating Details  ·  15,503 Ratings  ·  2,276 Reviews
A lush, sexy, evocative debut novel of family secrets and girls’-school rituals, set in the 1930s South.

It is 1930, the midstof 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. High in the Blue Ri
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Hardcover, 390 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Riverhead Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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Emily Houlis
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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karen
i was honestly pretty let down by this. it was one of the "it" books from 2013, so i was expecting to love it, but it really fell short of my expectations.

this book is narrated at a remove, from the perspective of an adult character looking back over her life and the decisions she made when she was a teenager, but it is told in the immediate first-person tense, with these occasional and jarring interjections from thea-now that kind of ruin the flow, and it is a sort of flabby read, with scenes t
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Bonnie
A copy of The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls was provided to me by Riverhead/Penguin Group (USA) for review purposes.

The authors childhood fondness for horseback riding sets the scene of this story about teenage angst, boarding school drama and a family scandal that changes a girl forever. Thea Atwell has lived with her family on their Florida farm since she was born but after a recent scandal her parents have sent her to The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls. The back story slowly unfurls as
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Bridget
Dec 20, 2014 Bridget rated it did not like it
Shelves: gorgeous-covers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stacia (the 2010 club)

I was not so angry with my situation that I could not discern beauty.

2.5 stars. The above phrase from the book describes my exact feelings about Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls. I can't remember the last time I've wanted to love a book more than I wanted to love this one. When the tale is about young women coming of age at an equestrian boarding school, sequestered away like only the protected rich in the middle of the great depression could be, you'd think that there would be so much pote
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Mary
Jun 23, 2013 Mary rated it did not like it
This is terrible. I have struggled through half of it and I give up. The narrator, Thea, is a whiny, vacuous twit and the narration itself wanders around pointlessly while nothing much seems to happen. At this point in the novel it's pretty obvious why Thea was sent away--eh, who cares--and that something distasteful may happen with the headmaster of the girls' school in the near future, and that someone else LIKE-likes girls and blah blah blah. I just don't want to read about any of it.

I thou
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Jubilation Lee
I don’t get the chance to read many Adult books, friends, because I spend all my free time trying to catch up on Teen books so that I can better advise my patrons. But I like Adult books! They involve ridiculous love triangles on a much less frequent basis! It’s refreshing!

So in an attempt to kill two birds with one stone, I got a list of Adult Books That Teens Will Also Enjoy, and from it chose at random The Yonahlossee Riding Camp For Girls.

(God, I hope this book doesn’t become super popular
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Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This is one of those books that I quite enjoyed but did not love. I'd been looking forward to it and it delivered: the writing is skillful and evocative, the characters are interesting and there's a simmering tension throughout that kept me turning pages.

The book begins with 15-year-old Thea Atwell's arrival at the eponymous camp, which doubles as a year-round boarding school. We learn immediately that Thea's parents have sent her to Yonahlossee due to some sort of bad behavior at home, and shor
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Sarah Campbell
Aug 04, 2013 Sarah Campbell rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book. It is, however, not a feel-good story. Basically I'd describe it as a dark coming of age novel featuring a flawed and not entirely likable narrator.

That being said, I felt a tremendous amount of empathy for the character of Thea - a 16 year old girl raised in isolated privilege who has been sent away after a family tragedy/near-scandal. Thea does not make good choices but to me this seemed more a function of her upbringing than anything else. Her life with her family in Flo
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Charty
Jul 22, 2013 Charty rated it it was ok
I am going to be one of the few people who hated this book (I can tell). My problems with it are many. First off, I found the writing style to be pretentious and awkward. The sentence structures read very unevenly to my ear and I never got pulled into the story because the language was so jarring. My next complaint would be that the setting and time period were very generic. For a novel set during the beginning of the Great Depression and taking place in Blue Ridge Mountains, neither time nor pl ...more
Anne
Jul 01, 2013 Anne rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
Made it to page 186. This is a terrible book that started off with some good writing and what looked to be a promising story. However, the author mistakenly believes that slowly and painfully unspooling the story of what happened before the book begins substitutes for tension within the book itself. But I could have forgiven that had I cared about the characters or their world. I couldn't read one more page. And that's just the beginning.

She had so many details wrong,especially about horses and
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Ellen Keim
Sep 11, 2013 Ellen Keim rated it really liked it
Unlike many other reviewers, I didn't expect to like this book; I never expect to like a book that has been raved about the way this one was. And at first I didn't like it. I probably wouldn't have kept reading it except that I wanted to know exactly what the main character had done that had caused her parents to send her away.

I'm glad I did, because I ended up liking the book immensely. I think the problem with the first part is that we know so little about the main character, Thea Atwell, tha
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Jackie
Jul 26, 2013 Jackie rated it really liked it
I'm going to quote another reader's review because I identify with what she said:

"She wrote a complicated, imperfect, totally screwed up character who still manages, at times, to be loving, brave and kind. Thea is very much a product of her circumstances, and looking back I think she does the best she can with what she has. Most importantly, she survives, and she learns to accept herself for who she is. Sure, she makes some terrible choices - but haven't we all? I think that's why I resented her
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Kim Miller-Davis
Jul 20, 2013 Kim Miller-Davis rated it it was amazing
I could not put this book down. I started it on a plane ride on our way to vacation and even after getting to our beautiful resort, I still kept reaching for it every second that I could.

It was a beautifully written coming-of-age story that is heartbreaking and empowering at the same time. Although there is some mystery about why Thea is forced to go to the camp, the author provides enough clues that I got the general idea and was able to enjoy the novel, without rushing to get to the flashbacks
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Alex
Jun 14, 2013 Alex rated it did not like it
This book was absolutely atrocious, and if I could give a negative rating on here I would. I wouldn't suggest you read this even if you get it for free (like I did). The protagonist is one of the most obnoxious, idiotic, unsympathetic female characters I've read since Bella Swan in Twilight. This plays off of stereotypes as southerners being inbred, and the plot is largely contingent on the protagonist's whining about how hard her life is. Her life is decidedly NOT hard; she's at a riding camp f ...more
Sabrina
Feb 10, 2013 Sabrina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
There are two words to describe this book: Slow Burn.

I have a very important piece of advice to give readers when it comes to this book. Clear your schedule. Not because it’s a fast-paced, heart-pounding read, but because it’s one that needs total attention. If you jump back and forth between Yonahlossee and real life, you’ll lose the true beauty of the book, which lies heavily in the characters and the subtle changes of self and scene.

Fifteen-year-old Thea Atwell has been sent to the Yonahloss
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Brooke Fleuette
Jun 09, 2013 Brooke Fleuette rated it it was amazing
I am one who likes to gulp down a book in a night or two, but I stretched this one out for nearly a week so that I could savor the lush, melancholy atmosphere of this novel. This book is not a romance, nor is it a book with a particularly sympathetic protagonist. However, to me, those things made it both more unique and more real. Thea, the narrator, does not always make good choices, do things for the right reasons, or get along with the authority figures in her life. Although Thea's situation ...more
Jen
Apr 02, 2014 Jen added it
Shelves: netgalley
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp is a place where rich young Southern girls are sent away from inappropriate boys, improper sexual urges, and the Great Depression. Fifteen year-old Thea -- who is rich, spoiled, and sneaky -- is fleeing all three. As the book opens, Thea's been banished from her Florida home after an unspecified scandal. There is not much mystery surrounding the nature of this scandal, though the final details are withheld until the last pages of the story.

I usually like flawed charac
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Denise Cornelius
Oct 09, 2013 Denise Cornelius rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kim
Aug 05, 2013 Kim rated it really liked it
"You don't think, when you are young, that you will simply fall into your life. But that... is exactly what happens"(254).

Indeed.

You also don't think that you'll simply fall into a book about a young girl breaking some pretty important rules/taboos in Depression-era Florida and heading off to a horse camp, of all things, but that is exactly what happens. I was a little distressed by some of Thea's choices, and I'm not at all sure she and I would be friends in real life; I'm also usually rather
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Canadian Reader
Aug 03, 2013 Canadian Reader rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Competent--if occasionally precious--writing, a thin plot and an unsympathetic protagonist in a VERY long book--approaching 400 pages. In the 1930s, fifteeen-year-old Thea Atwell is sent off from a privileged and rarefied existence in Florida to an exclusive girls' camp/school in the Carolinas as punishment after a "series of events". Twin brother Sam's fate is to be preferred by his parents and kept behind, though he, too, has been pivotal in his sister's removal from the family home. Thea's ba ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This is a story of a girl who is sent away to a riding camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, partly as punishment for something that happened, and partly because her family is suffering through the Great Depression like most families. The camp is solely for daughters of wealthy families, however, and she quickly finds herself navigating social situations she is not accustomed to, having grown up spending most of her time with her fraternal twin.

I cursed the author through the first
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Cynthia
Jun 25, 2013 Cynthia rated it it was amazing
It's 1931 and a family tragedy has occurred and 16 year old Thea is banished from her Florida home and sent to an all girl's school in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She's angry and hurt. Fortunately she gradually begins to understand her situation better and to find the positive side of her expulsion from her family thanks to the friends and adults that help her cope. Best of all she has her love of horses and riding.

This is a coming of age story and there's a surprise on almost every page. Nothing
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Leanne
I put off writing this review for a little while because I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to say. I loved this book, but I don't quite know why - once I picked it up, all I wanted to do was curl up in the sun on a comfy chair and read all day and shut everything else out. But when I think about it, I can understand some of the criticisms I've seen - it was slow. Not a great deal actually happened. Thea was not always the most likeable or relatable protagonist. I think a large part of it is th ...more
Amelia
Jun 20, 2013 Amelia rated it did not like it
I work at a bookstore and, after seeing a copy on the shelf, noticed we had an advanced reader's copy in the staffroom. Free book- might as well, right? It started with a great premise- 15-year-old girl in 1930 gets sent to summer camp of horseback riding after family tragedy. But soon it spiraled downhill, to my dismay, as Thea was proven spoiled and unwilling to learn from her mistakes. Perhaps it might have gone better if there was a moral at all. There was again a promise that maybe Thea wou ...more
Siobhan
Jul 13, 2013 Siobhan rated it liked it
Taking this book for what I wanted it to be - a summer read - it did not disappoint for the most part. It wasn't quite up to the quality of writing that last years "Gone Girl" achieved, and I have to admit I was taken aback that the NYT review completely omitted the extremely sensual and sexual tone of the book, really it borders on harlequin romance if not Cinemax movie material at times, but sometimes that's not a bad thing for a summertime diversion. It is definitely an addictive story and th ...more
Tish
Jun 07, 2013 Tish rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Tish by: New York Times book review
First of all, I listened to this novel as an audio book from Audible.com, and the narration was not very good, so that may have influenced my negative reaction to the novel. However, narration aside, the story line and the quality of the prose are mediocre, and the heroine is very off-putting.

In this coming of age tale, I want to relate to the central figure and her struggles with womanhood, sexuality, love, and the secret she is hiding, but the heroine is so unpleasant, silly, vindictive, illog
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Andrienne
May 15, 2013 Andrienne rated it liked it
I keep having a hard time remembering the riding camp name. I think the author could have chosen a name that sounded more beautiful. Thea is a girl who got into trouble and was sent away to camp--the end. No just kidding, although to me, it sounded like that except this camp has a lot of horses to ride as well as headmasters. Haha. Okay, serious now. The writing is excellent; I picked up the book expecting to read a chapter before going to bed one evening and ended up staying late almost halfway ...more
Beth Knight
Sep 12, 2013 Beth Knight rated it liked it
3.5 stars. This book is slow, much more character-driven than plot-driven. It's also fairly dark and depressing. While reading it I could feel the gloom of it, like a dark cloud hanging over me. The book is filled with characters who aren't very likable, who are dysfunctional and do awful things. My stomach feels sick thinking of what they did. The book was well-written, though, but I thought it would be better than it was.
Snotchocheez
May 23, 2014 Snotchocheez rated it really liked it

Ms. DiSclafani's Depression-era coming-of-age-but-evidently-too-(ahem)-"adult"-for-YA novel is a delightful read, despite its low GR cume. Lots of DNF- and "I couldn't stand the main character"- reviews (and a curious dearth of male reviewers) helped sway me to give it a try.

The titular "Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls" is a boarding school/horse riding retreat situated in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, attended mostly by Southern girls of privilege to transform them into prim a
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Rain
May 10, 2013 Rain rated it liked it
“I was a girl, I learned, who got what she wanted, but not without sadness, not without cutting a swath of destruction so wide it consumed my family. And almost me. I almost fell into it, with them. I almost lost myself”.

This coming of age story is missing something. The writing is beautiful, but the actual story felt slightly uncomfortable. The main character, Thea, is surrounded by weak adults, yet she is constantly blamed for not knowing better. The mystery that surrounds the first half of t
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Thea, the book's narrator. 4 32 Jun 19, 2015 04:44PM  
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A must read???? 23 148 Feb 25, 2014 01:32PM  
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