There are echoes of A Separate Peace…as well as of Curtis Sittenfeld's more recent boarding school novel, Prep. What makes Yonahlossee emotionally engaging in its own right—this summer's first romantic page turner—is Ms. DiSclafani's sure-footed sense of narrative and place, and her decision to portray her heroine, Thea Atwell, in all her complexity: fierce, passionate, strong-willed, but also selfish, judgmental and self-destructive. By setting the novel in 1930, as America teeters on a financial cliff, and the days of debutante balls and fancy-dress parties seem numbered, Ms. DiSclafani has tried to situate the rarefied world her characters inhabit in a real-life context, even as she gives the reader some well-observed glimpses of the lifestyles of the rich and not so famous.
Michiko Kakutani - New York Times
Lush.... [T]he tensions, jealousies and triumphs are deftly blended to vividly portray the coming of age of a gathering of girls at a particular time in a particular place.
New York Daily News
DiSclafani is an insanely talented writer—her precise period details and lovely descriptions of riding and adolescence have a spellbinding effect.
DiSclafani's writing is smart and sexy, and her characters are flawed and worth knowing as they navigate through life and don't always make the wisest decisions.
The setup for this debut novel is delectable: it’s 1930, the country is tumbling into depression, and 15-year-old Thea has done something bad enough to get her sent from Florida to an elite year-round “camp” in North Carolina.... Thea’s narration feels flattened by history, and the characters she encounters never achieve dimensionality.... Though there are many twists and turns, the prose numbs the pleasure of reading about even the most forbidden of Thea’s trysts.
(Starred review.) Engrossing, empathetic, and atmospheric, this debut will resonate with readers as the author eloquently portrays the inevitable missteps in coming of age. Highly recommended.
(Starred review.) Set in the 1930s, full of alluring descriptions, and featuring a headstrong lead character, this is a literary novel that is also full of scandal, sex, and secrets.... [Readers] will be held in thrall by the world so vividly and sensually rendered here in a novel that is as sophisticated in its writing as it is in its themes.
(Starred review.) DiSclafani's debut chronicles a teenager's life-changing year at an elite boarding school in the North Carolina mountains. Thea arrives at the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, ... sent away from her home in central Florida for an initially mysterious offense.... In elegant prose that evokes the cadences of a vanished epoch, DiSclafani unfolds at a leisurely pace the twin narratives of Thea's odyssey at school and the charged relationship with her cousin Georgie.... An unusually accomplished and nuanced coming-of-age drama.
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