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Vengeance Road

(Vengeance Road #1)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  8,667 ratings  ·  1,955 reviews
Revenge is worth its weight in gold.

When her father is murdered for a journal revealing the location of a hidden gold mine, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers—and justice. What she finds are untrustworthy strangers, endless dust and heat, and a surprising band of allies, among them a young Apache gi
Hardcover, 327 pages
Published September 1st 2015 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Erin Bowman Yes! Kate's story starts and ends with this book.

(In full disclosure, I *am* playing around with an idea for a companion novel, but it would supplemen…more
Yes! Kate's story starts and ends with this book.

(In full disclosure, I *am* playing around with an idea for a companion novel, but it would supplement VENGEANCE ROAD (story with new characters and conflicts) rather than be a direct sequel. And it's just a loose idea right now; nothing is contracted.) :)(less)
Erin Bowman Hi! VENGEANCE ROAD is set in 1877, in Arizona Territory. The story begins outside Prescott, on Kate's homestead, and as tracks her father's killers, s…moreHi! VENGEANCE ROAD is set in 1877, in Arizona Territory. The story begins outside Prescott, on Kate's homestead, and as tracks her father's killers, she travels south toward Phoenix, and then east into the Superstition Mountains.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  8,667 ratings  ·  1,955 reviews

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Emily May
Apr 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
"That sounds real nice, boy," he says. "Now for the love of God, lower that damn pistol."
"All right," I says.
And I do.
Right after I shoot him through the skull.

This book is nasty. When I heard that Erin Bowman had written a Western where the protagonist is a girl posing as a cowboy and ends up finding love in this wild, rugged landscape, I thought one thing - I bet this is the politest, cutest Western ever.

How wrong I was.

If you don't like the Western genre and are thinking about reading thi
Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)
More like a 2.75 or 2.5 ish

This was good for what it was I just don't really think it was for me. I found myself drifting often, bored by the subject matter. I've never really encountered Westerns before so I didn't know how I'd react but I was mostly yawning. I don't find the whole Western thing appealing apparently. If you're into that though, I think you might enjoy this!
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
The first time I read this it was through Netgalley but I bought the Hardback a few years ago and did a re-read on audio so I could read the second book. I tweaked the old review just a little =)


I am not a big fan of the western genre, but when I read the blurb of this book about a girl going after a gang for killing her pa, I had to read it! There is nothing like a good ole vengeance tale!

The gang that beat and hung Kate's pa while she was out in the field is calle
Jul 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
When I were first learning to shoot a rifle, Pa told me that nearly every battle people face is in their heads. If you think you can't do something, you won't. If you believe you can, it's only a matter of time before you will.

this is like True Grit, without all the moralizing

for some reason, i thought this was a middle grade book when i saw it at BEA; a fun, spunky pigtailed girl-western. and now i know what it feels like to be wrong. it lists as YA, but it has definite crossover potential and
Wendy Darling
I love westerns, and it's about time we got more YA ones. VENGEANCE ROAD has some fun shoot 'em up action scenes, some LITTLE WOMEN love, and a neat surprise towards the end, even though it's a little lacking in the kind of spark and grit and conviction (and humor) that you might want from a story and characters like these.

Still, I admire any author who commits so thoroughly to writing in a dialect so different from her own (and being mostly successful in carrying it off), and I quite enjoyed r
Rachel E. Carter
Jul 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: have-paperback
This book was bloody spectacular. I am not a Western girl -I avoid those books and movies like the plague (except Owen Wilson’s “Shanghai” ones). I can’t even explain how speechless I am that a YA western blew me away. This book did what Blood Red Road did for me as a dystopia, and I am utterly in awe. I can just feel how much research and careful precision went into taking all the classic western elements and turning them on their head ((view spoiler) ...more
Aimee ♥ | Aimee, Always
*09/06: After giving this some thought, I lowered my GR star rating to 3 stars, but this book's still a 3.5 for me!

Vengeance Road is pure blood and grit. This may sound like a cutesy I-wanted-revenge-but-now-I-just-want-you romance based on the synopsis (and were you thinking, Love triangle alert! like I was?), but this book is just full of badassness and kickassery. It's all about revenge, murder, and deception... with a hint of romance.

The action scenes, in particular, were superb. I have huge
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it





This is a classic western tale, except the roles are reversed and we have badass Kate Thompson on her way to slay her enemies. After her dad is killed for his knowledge of a goldmine (its the late 1800s) Kate sets off to seek revenge and kicks ass along the way.

The characters are as follows:
Kate Thompson:

Our 18 year old, hardcore af protagonist who is fired by her anger and hatred for the men who killed her dad. She originally poses as a boy so she can be taken
Tamora Pierce
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
I haven't read a regular, old-fashioned cowboy book in a long time, and this one had the double pleasure not only of being written in easy-to-follow dialect, but of having a female hero. Kate sets out to avenge her father's murder, hot in pursuit of a vicious gang of kidnapper-killers who believe her father held the secret to a hidden mine full of a fabulous treasure in gold. Kate only cares about the gold inasmuch as it helps her to catch the killers, but she knows anyone learning of the secret ...more
Why I chose to listen to this audiobook:
1. my GR friend, Holly, recommended it to me (and I trust her!);
2. my hold became available on Libby; and,
3. September is my self-proclaimed "Historical Fiction Month"!

1. not your typical western. The MC is an 18-year-old woman named Kate who is hellbent on taking down the Rose Riders gang after they killed her father, but she also shows a remorseful side when others are unintentionally caught up, sometimes fatally, in her quest;
2. although there's
destiny ♡ howling libraries
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-p, ya, western
“Sure, sometimes you gotta let things go, but other times you can't till you set things right.”

Going into my first western story ever, I had no clue what to expect. Truthfully, I'm not a tremendous fan of western films, but they tend to follow such specific atmospheric guidelines that I couldn't have imagined a book executing those same feelings. I was wrong, though; Vengeance Road literally feels like you've been transported into a western, from the setting all the way to the manner
Mar 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Read: Nov. 23rd - Nov. 26th, 2015
Re-read: Dec. 10th - Dec. 16th, 2019

5 stars, both times

When her father is murdered for a journal revealing the location of a hidden gold mine, 18 year old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. Along the way she finds a surprising band of allies : a young Apache girl and a pair of stubborn brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But some men will stop at nothing to get their hands on gold
Erin Bowman
Apr 11, 2014 marked it as books-i-wrote  ·  (Review from the author)
UPDATE: Vengeance Road is getting a companion novel, Retribution Rails. Yeehaw!


I'm so excited for y'all to read VENGEANCE ROAD! The book will be out in just a few weeks, but until then, you can always...

follow @VRposse for updates
track the VR tag on my tumblr
check out my pinterest board full of visual inspiration
• and read short teaser excerpts every Monday until launch!

Faye, la Patata
"HEY, PARDNER. You don't happen to have a dip there, wouldcha? Yer gonna be in fer a wild, wild ride, Western style."

Did I say that right? Did I sound like a kick-ass cowboy, about to tell a story around a campfire? Yes? ...No? Ah, well.

2015 is definitely the year where Western YA is taking the world by storm. I've already read 2 set in this era - one during the Californian Gold Rush (Walk on Earth a Stranger) and finally, this one, set a little bit after all the gold hooligans have come and
Danielle (Love at First Page)
The short and sweet of it: Vengeance Road is pure, fantastic storytelling. It's a fast-paced, adventurous thrill ride from start to finish, with a feisty heroine, a slow burn romance, and a richly detailed setting. Erin Bowman stays true to the spirit of the Wild West, crafting a tale that is as emotional as it is gritty. It has an old-fashioned aura, that "they don't make them like this anymore" feeling. Love, hate, vengeance, forgiveness, greed, lust... sweat, dirt, and tears... kisses hotter ...more
Jodi Meadows
Dec 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-blurbed
My official comments:

Gold madness, a good-for-nothing posse, and frontier justice: VENGEANCE ROAD is everything you could want in a Western, best read with an accent.

My unofficial comments:

HOLY COMMAS. I never thought I was much of a Western reader, but I loved this book so freaking much. The characters, the setting, the plot -- all spot on.

Read this book, guys.
Nov 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites

One of those books I heard alot about and was immediately intrigued... heard some compare it to 'True Grit' which also sparked my interest but also had me wary (one of my favorite books, the movie was good too).

When I were first learning to shoot a rifle, Pa told me that nearly every battle people face is in their heads. If you think you can't do something, you won't. If you believe you can, it's only a matter of time before you will.

“Money’s supposed to fix problems, not give you more, but I
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: series
3.5 stars

I won't recount the plot here as the Goodreads description does a superb job of informing readers what it is about. Noticing that previous reviewers had made a lot of comparisons between this book and "Walk on Earth a Stranger," I decided to let many months pass before turning my attention to "Vengeance Road." Although I understand why these books draw such a comparison ( western setting, female protagonist dressing up as a boy, avenging her father's death, gold mines etc.), I do belie
Jul 09, 2015 rated it it was ok

I’m starting to wonder if I’m doomed to have the worst reading year of my entire life because nothing is working for me!
Here’s something you probably don’t know about me, but I grew up watching westerns thanks to my Dad (Bonanza was my favorite), and my first introduction to audio books were tapes of Louis L'Amour (One For The Mohave Kid is the one I remember most), but I don’t go out of my way to find western based books – and I haven’t watched westerns in probably 20 year
Marla Mei
This review is also posted at Her Book Thoughts!

4.5 stars

I’ve never been fond of the Western genre before but this book just damn well swayed my mind. Vengeance Road is a book that doesn’t shy away from being merciless and gritty. This isn’t some cutesy YA western, no. You want nasty? Nasty is what you’ll get. Kate, the heroine, is out for revenge and her thirst for it shows. She’s badass, ruthless and won’t stop for nothing but at the same time still so kind to the core.

Despite being bloody and
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-releases
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devio
3.5 stars

So, Wild West

I am sure every one of you watched at least one western in your life. Or may be you are a fan of westerns and have seen the best of them. I personally am not a fan, but I sure would like a good western about revenge.

Imagine: western and revenge in one book. I haven't read any westerns before and Vengeance Road was my first. And it was a hell of a read!
This book is about revenge, then about more revenge, and in the end a couple more drops of revenge. MC Kate wants t

Feb 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.

This book is one I've been waiting ages for, and as soon as I was approved for it, I had to start it, TBR be damned. Vengeance Road is one of the first Western books I've ever read, and I think it's the first YA of its kind - though Walk on Earth a Stranger is also coming out in September. This book was raw, and real, and the sheer intensity of the events made it appear as if we were actually w
Taylor Knight

When I seen the cover reveal for this book months ago, I knew I would love it. After waiting months and months (I even pre-ordered this book, which I rarely do), I finally got it in the mail. And within 24 hours of receiving Vengeance Road, I finished it. I could not put this book down. I read it in one sitting and love every single second. Right from the start, I was hooked and I was so sad when it ended.
I loved the main character, Kate. She's exactly the kind of character I was hoping she wo
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook

Why this book?
I thought I’ll give it another try

What I thought

This was on my DNF Self but I found the audiobook and decided to give it another try. I’m so happy I did because I really liked it. Kate is a kick ass heroine and is really easy to root for. I also really loved Jesse even though he disappointed me at one point. There’s romance; it’s subtle, but I still ship it with all my heart. This is full of gun fights and everything else that make a good western. I don’t know if I’ll rea
Jul 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
“I got some coin and a vengeance strong enough to cut any throat that tries to cross me.”

I knew I was going to love this from the very first chapter, which was an explosion of violent and gritty awesomeness. My love for this book only grew as I got to know the protagonist, Kate, who was hardcore and had no regrets.

Kate is out for cold hard revenge. Her father was keeping a secret from her: he discovered a gold mine years ago and made a map to it. Now a nasty gang called the Rose Riders have
Feb 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Actual rating: 3,5 stars

I never liked westerns.

I remember when I was little (well, when I was around 8-9 years old) my dad would watch a Clint Eastwood movie every.single.night.. And believe me, I WAS SO SICK OF IT! I couldn't stand the dude's face anymore. I never tried watching his movies since then, and always thought westerns were just not my cup of tea.

Until I found this book.

To be completely honest with you, this book was a cover-buy; I still had a vague idea of what this book was abo
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

Vengeance Road, Erin Bowman's unique foray into young adult western genre can only be described as a success. As the author’s note clearly explains, the highly anticipated project was something Bowman had brewing for years and that much forethought was evident from every page. Vengeance Road is dark, violent, gritty and honest, all the things I’ve come to appreciate in YA fiction above all else.

After the violent death of her father, Kate is a girl set on revenge, going against a much strong
Paige  Bookdragon

I asked for vengeance.What I got is so much better.


I love it when a book promises something and it delivers more than you could possible imagine. Vengeance Road is a story with grit, blood and a hell bent on vengeance heroine who doesn't give a fuck about propriety.

I can fire a rifle as good as any man. ‘Parently I can kill another just as dead too. I don’t see why I should act like I can’t just ‘cus it ruffles everyone else’s feathers.


What I really love about this book is that the heroine is t
Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
I absolutely LOVED Vengeance Road! The feisty heroine was the highlight of the book, and she's absolutely hellbent on getting what she wants and avenging her father. I loved the Western setting, the Southern dialect and the amazing adventure that they go through in the wild wild west.


This review originally appeared on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!

What a cracking Western! I’m not usually a fan of the Western setting, but Vengeance Road captured it perfectly – the quickfire
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Erin Bowman is the critically acclaimed author of numerous books for children and teens, including the Taken Trilogy, Vengeance Road, Retribution Rails, the Edgar Award-nominated Contagion duology, The Girl and the Witch’s Garden, and the forthcoming Dustborn. A web designer turned author, Erin has always been invested in telling stories—both visually and with words. Erin lives in New Hampshire wi ...more

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Vengeance Road (2 books)
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