cover image The Girls of No Return

The Girls of No Return

Erin Saldin. Scholastic/Levine, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-545-31026-0

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%E2%80%93up. Agent: Denise Shannon Literary Agency. (Feb.)