cover image The Canyon’s Edge

The Canyon’s Edge

Dusti Bowling. Little, Brown, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-316-49469-4

In the year since Nora’s most recent birthday, when a restaurant shooting resulted in the tragic death of her mother and a PTSD diagnosis for Nora, the girl’s father has kept her isolated and protected from the world. Unsurprisingly, Dad decides to celebrate her birthday with a trip far from civilization: rappelling into a slot canyon in the Sonoran Desert. Having grown up rock climbing and hiking through deserts, Nora is well versed in survival skills, but after the two travel for several hours, a flash flood steals away her father, leaving Nora alone with no supplies, no idea whether her dad is alive, and struggling to survive while keeping the demons of the last year at bay. Writing primarily in verse, with a few narrative passages, Bowling (24 Hours in Nowhere) creates a fast-paced, gripping novel in which Nora confronts dangers such as scorpions and snakes. The effective stream-of-consciousness narration jumps from Nora’s teeth-gritting determination to despairing flashbacks of the shooting that killed her mother and the fatigue-wearing “Beast” who still haunts her. Because the entire story spans roughly 48 hours, readers learn little about Nora outside of these two incidents, lessening the opportunities to connect with her. Still, the high level of tension and the emotional pull of Bowling’s writing make this a praiseworthy, adventure-filled story. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Shannon Hassan, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. (Sept.) [/em]