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The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  20,247 ratings  ·  2,685 reviews
A lush, sexy, evocative debut novel of family secrets and girls’-school rituals, set in the 1930s South.

It 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. High in the Blue R
Hardcover, 390 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Riverhead Books
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Average rating 3.35  · 
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 ·  20,247 ratings  ·  2,685 reviews

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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
Jul 29, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: gorgeous-covers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Jun 22, 2013 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
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 m
Jul 22, 2013 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
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
Jul 26, 2013 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
Sarah Campbell
Aug 04, 2013 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
Sep 11, 2013 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
Jul 01, 2013 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
“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. I almost fell into it, with them. I almost lost myself.”
― Anton DiSclafani, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls

This book is about Thea Atwell who is sent away from her family as a result of a scandal that she was involved in. She winds up, of coarse at The Yonahlossee riding camp for girls. This is her story.

I really wanted to love this novel. I
Brooke Fleuette
Jun 06, 2013 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
Kim Miller-Davis
Jul 20, 2013 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
LeAnne: GeezerMom
Jan 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Not great, not bad. There is definite tension built in this book, and I will look for other works by this author. I might have liked it better had the subject material been not so hard to handle.

The settings in Florida and also at the riding camp in the mountains were well done, and she did a nice job with the images of young women dressed all in solid white marking their way down various trails. I grew up in Florida, and while this book takes place in a time period that precedes even an old ga
Apr 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
What makes a bestseller? If this book was deservedly one, then I know why I'm not an agent or a publisher. I thought this book was dreadful. I won't even be passing it on to a friend. It's that bad. I found it maudlin, overwrought, and so slow moving that I felt as if I were slogging through a Florida swamp. There is not one character with whom I could empathize. Sexy? Maybe it was, but in such a creepy, repulsive way that it was difficult to read. There's a whole lot of equestrian stuff going o ...more
Feb 10, 2013 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
Jun 14, 2013 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
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
Aug 05, 2013 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).


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
Denise Cornelius
Jul 24, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jen Ryland
May 15, 2013 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
Inactive Canadian
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
Jun 25, 2013 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
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
Olive Fellows (abookolive)
SO disappointed by this. It had the potential to be something special, but the author never really went there with the writing. Curtis Sittenfeld (the author of Prep) blurbed this book and called it "sexy." Your definition of sexy FRIGHTENS ME.
Jun 20, 2013 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
May 20, 2014 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
Apr 28, 2013 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
Jul 13, 2013 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
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Play Book Tag: The Yonahlossee Riding Camp For Girls / Anton DiSclafani - 3*** 1 12 Apr 28, 2017 02:51PM  
Thea, the book's narrator. 4 40 Jun 19, 2015 04:44PM  
Reader's Choice B...: January meeting 3 17 Feb 05, 2015 05:31PM  
DG Reads- Sailing...: The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls 3 39 Oct 07, 2014 11:21AM  
A must read???? 23 156 Feb 25, 2014 01:32PM  

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