7 reviews

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls: A Novel
by Anton DiSclafani

Published: 2013-06-04
Hardcover : 400 pages
6 members reading this now
8 clubs reading this now
9 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 4 of 7 members
“This summer’s first romantic page turner.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Named a most anticipated book for Summer 2013 by The Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly and USA Today, NPR, and People summer reads pick

A lush, sexy, evocative debut novel of family secrets ...
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“This summer’s first romantic page turner.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Named a most anticipated book for Summer 2013 by The Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly and USA Today, NPR, and People summer reads pick

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 Ridge Mountains, with its complex social strata ordered by money, beauty, and girls’ friendships, the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is a far remove from the free-roaming, dreamlike childhood Thea shared with her twin brother on their family’s citrus farm—a world now partially shattered. As Thea grapples with her responsibility for the events of the past year that led her here, she finds herself enmeshed in a new order, one that will change her sense of what is possible for herself, her family, her country.

Weaving provocatively between home and school, the narrative powerfully unfurls the true story behind Thea’s expulsion from her family, but it isn’t long before the mystery of her past is rivaled by the question of how it will shape her future. Part scandalous love story, part heartbreaking family drama, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is an immersive, transporting page-turner—a vivid, propulsive novel about sex, love, family, money, class, home, and horses, all set against the ominous threat of the Depression—and the major debut of an important new writer.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.


Chapter One

I was fifteen years old when my parents sent me away to the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls. The camp was located in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, concealed in the Blue Ridge Mountains. You could drive by the entrance and never see it, not unless you were looking, and carefully; my father missed it four times before I finally signaled that we had arrived. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. The author moves between the ordered, class-conscious world of Yonahlossee and the dreamlike plantation of Thea’s Florida childhood. How do these two landscapes differ physically? What about socially? Is the geography of the place linked to its larger differences? How is Thea herself altered by these differences when she moves from one to the other?

2. Think about the relationship between Thea and Sam. In what ways are they more than siblings? How does their relationship change as they grow up? Would their relationship and its evolution have been different if they were not twins?
Thea grows up in a world where her only peers are boys. How does exposure to the world of girls change her? What does she learn from forming relationships with other girls? How do her specific relationships with Sissy and Leona differ? In what ways is Thea a friend to both girls? In what ways does she betray them?

3. Think about the men in Thea’s life. What is she looking for in these relationships? What does she find? How is Thea’s first romantic relationship different from her second one? Does she see the differences? How are they important to the growth of her character and to the shape of her story? By the end of the book, how has she been changed by these relationships?

4. Horses are deeply important to Thea. It could even be said that she is a different person when she is riding. Why do you think horses change her? What does she learn about herself through riding?

5. Bravery is a theme throughout the book. What does it mean to be brave? Are there times when bravery can be dangerous? How does her bravery help or hurt Thea?

6. Thea’s desires are often at odds with what is expected of her. What does Thea desire? How are her desires channeled? Are there any better alternatives?

7. Why do you think the author chose to set her novel during the Depression? In what ways does the Depression figure into the book or affect the characters? Do you think of it served more as historical background or did its constant presence change the way you interpreted the story?

8. Think about the differences between Thea and Sam’s family and Georgie’s family. How do these differences affect the twins’ relationship with their cousin and their parents’ relationship with his parents? Does any of this influence Georgie’s behavior toward Thea or hers toward him? How does it affect the adults’ responses to what happens later?

9. How much are Thea’s parents responsible for what happens to Thea? How much are they responsible for the nature of her relationship with Sam when they were children and then later as teens and adults? What do you think they could or should have done differently?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

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Member Reviews

Overall rating:
  "Perspective"by Katie M. (see profile) 03/03/14

This book was a little slow but I found that once I started reading I could not put it down. The main character is hard to like. Her interaction with the world she was thrown into is intriguing. It is... (read more)

  "yonahlossee riding camp for girls"by Karen F. (see profile) 02/19/14

terrible for any age but especially for teenagers.

  "The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls"by Joyce M. (see profile) 10/24/13

Members had mixed feelings about this story. I loved the book! Good discussion, as members had different perspectives and point of views.

  "Might be ok for a girl coming of age"by Susan S. (see profile) 10/24/13

Our group just couldn't get into this slow moving rather unbelievable story. Someone entering 'the world' and her physical maturity might find it more engaging.

  "None of Us Liked This"by Stacie G. (see profile) 09/12/13

Really odd book set in the depression. Didn't like the character, didn't like the way the story was told, really not interesting.

  "The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls: A Novel by Anton DiSclafani "by Dedra D. (see profile) 08/28/13

I thought this book to be intriguing. even though you can pretty much guess the ending you don't want to put the book down.

  "The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani"by Becky H. (see profile) 05/23/13

This big, rich novel covers only a year but manages to convey an entire lifetime. Thea, the main character, is a twin, a lover of horses and a girl who wants. Unfortunately what she wants ... (read more)

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