The Girls of No Return

The Girls of No Return

3.0 3
by Erin Saldin

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CUT meets HATCHET in this lacerating debut about girls, knives, and redemption.

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


CUT meets HATCHET in this lacerating debut about girls, knives, and redemption.

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a narrative told through extended flashbacks that alternate with "epilogue" sections, secretive Lida reflects on the time she spent as a troubled 16-year-old at the Alice Marshall School for Girls, tucked deep in the Idaho wilderness. Each of the girls at Alice Marshall has a "Thing," something from her past that brought her there. Lida, hostile toward her father and stepmother and still mourning her absent mother, isn't interested in sharing, but little by little, she reveals the reasons behind her destructive behavior. Debut author Saldin carefully builds suspense through the complex relationships that Lida forms with the other girls, particularly fierce, dangerous Boone, who has been abandoned by all of the people in her life and torments the other girls, and enigmatic Gia, who enchants and manipulates Lida. Saldin brings a polished descriptive style to the expansive wilderness setting, which subtly mirrors the shadowed layers of each girl's consciousness. Those expecting a violent confrontation won't be disappointed; through it, Lida learns the meaning of real friendship and forgiveness. Ages 14�up. Agent: Denise Shannon Literary Agency. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Janis Flint-Ferguson
Lida Wallace is a troubled sixteen-year-old. Her mother is dead, her father has remarried, she has no friends, and she is generally sullen and angry. Without her input, the decision is made to send her away to school and now she finds herself at the Alice Marshall School for Girls in the Frank Church River of the No Return Wilderness area of Idaho. All the girls are there because of their own troubled lives and Lida does her best to avoid each and every one of them. She finds that Jules is incredibly cheerful for a troubled peer and Boone is just plain scary. As the time passes, however, Lida develops a tentative friendship with them both. When Gia arrives, Lida finds herself attracted to the beautiful, enigmatic young woman. More importantly for Lida, Gia may be equally attracted to her. Gia and Boone grow to distrust one another and Lida maneuvers an uneasy relationship with them both, longing to spend more time with Gia but actually spending the time with Boone. Lida makes some ill-advised decisions and in doing so sets into motion consequences that will never be undone. But she also comes face to face with herself, the reasons for her actions at Alice Marshall, and the reasons that brought her there. This is a poignant story of redemption and what it takes to forgive—yourself as well as others. The story is compelling, slowly drawing readers into the lives of these complicated teens and the wilderness that for many of them is their last chance. It does contain some rough language as fits the situation and storyline. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson
VOYA - Blake Norby
Lida Wallace has always tried to be invisible, but when she moves into the Alice Marshall School with fifty other troubled teenage girls, she finds herself entangled in a story of secrets and redemption. Every girl has their "thing"—their own personal secret reason for being at the school—and Lida is determined to protect hers. She manages to keep to herself until the glamorous Gia Longchamps comes to the camp, and Lida becomes both terrified and entranced by her. She quickly gets caught between her roommate, Boone, and Gia; and when the conflict between the two comes to its climax, Lida must confront the one person she has been hiding from the longest—herself. With first-person narrative, the reader gets to know Lida's view of the Alice Marshall School as a waste of time, at first, and then as a peaceful place of rejuvenation. The other characters, however, are inconsistent, and the relationships are not fully developed. Saldin begins the book with an epilogue that is spread out among the chapters in order to build anticipation and suspense. This only succeeds in filling the story with unimportant details as the reader waits to know Lida's "thing," which is not revealed until the last sixty pages of the book. Teenage girls will be able to relate to Lida and some of the other characters, but this book missed an opportunity to delve deeper and become a meaningful coming-of-age story. Reviewer: Blake Norby
Kirkus Reviews
Lonely, angry and acting out, Lida is sent by her father and stepmother to a school for problem girls in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area. Trying to keep a low profile, Lida becomes an observer. While the girls are there for different reasons, cabinmate Boone is more frighteningly tough than most. Lida gradually engages with the wilderness and both Boone and Gia, a charismatic new girl, for whom her attraction is romantic but not sexual. When Boone takes Lida hiking to a nearby fire lookout to meet Ben, a friendly supplier of booze, Lida knows she has gained Boone's trust--but Gia's intrusion and manipulations roil the plot. It all explodes on a solo overnight camping trip, and the choices each girl makes set up a violent confrontation, hinted at in the short "Epilogue" sections that are interspersed in italic type. Not everyone is distinct; the "I-bankers," or daughters of wealthy investment bankers, are particularly interchangeable. But teen and adult characters that matter are complex and intriguing. Saldin keeps readers intrigued by both withholding information and sharing Lida's retrospective thoughts without ever seeming manipulative. 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. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
770L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 Years

Meet 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.

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The Girls of No Return 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
ElegantlyBoundReviews More than 1 year ago
It’s been almost a month since I’ve read this book and I still don’t know how I feel about it. I guess it just threw me completely off guard and not in a good way. When I first saw the cover and the title, I thought that the book would be a little bit scary. I was actually hoping that it would be. Here is what I thought it would be about in one sentence: A bunch of girls who are at a camp or boarding school, row off together but something so terrible happens that only one of them returns. That was not what The Girls of No Return was about. I crack open the book, so excited to get started on this super crazy, creepy mystery, that I could hardly contain my excitement when the book starts off with these really cryptic journal entries about something that happened that the main character can’t talk about. My excitement continues until about half way through the book when I realize that my assumptions are probably wrong. As it turns out, it’s about a girl who is sent to an all girl boarding school in the middle of nowhere because she’s rebellious. Lida is a pretty cool character who really discovers who she is and what she’s good at while she attends the Alice Marshall School. I felt so bad for her after another girl cut off her hair while she slept during her first night there. Which made me think there was going to be some kind of mean-girl action going on which would have been awesome, by the way. As far as the story goes, I really liked it. I’m always up for a good boarding school book and even though it was an all girls’ school, it still kept me interested. It was paced really well and I didn’t find myself getting bored. The ending was crazy and I definitely didn’t expect it. I give the Girls of No Return 3 hearts because the back and forth flash back action was done really well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You go on to your barns&nobles account and go to MY NOOK then you find the bok ou want to delete and then you you press delete BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE END
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How do you delete a book?!