Synopses & Reviews
Named a most anticipated book for Summer 2013 by The Wall Street Journal
and Publishers Weekly
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.
“DiSclafani is an insanely talented writer — her precise period details and lovely descriptions of riding and adolescence have a spellbinding effect.” Entertainment Weekly
“In elegant prose that evokes the cadences of a vanished epoch, DiSclafani unfolds at a leisurely pace….An unusually accomplished and nuanced coming-of-age drama.” Kirkus (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." Booklist (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.” Library Journal (starred review)
“I fell completely under the spell of Anton DiSclafani's amazing first novel and was gripped by its lush and dreamy evocations of Southern decorum, family secrets, and boarding school rituals. DiSclafani is wildly talented, and this is a sexy, suspenseful, gorgeously written book.” Curtis Sittenfeld, author of Prep
“The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is so sexy, smart, and vividly drawn that I was surprised to remember that this novel is Anton DiSclafani's first. With such a big-hearted and atmospheric book, Ms. DiSclafani's talents should be celebrated far and wide.” Lauren Groff, author of The Monsters of Templeton
“Thea Atwell is an unforgettable heroine, and DiSclafani's pitch-perfect details of time and place effortlessly drew me into this fantastic novels authentic and alluring world.” Laura Moriarty, author of The Chaperone
“In her haunting debut, Anton DiSclafani reminded me how I came to love reading as a child, the way a book can so envelop you in its unique and vibrant world that even as you race toward the end, you find yourself dreading the moment its finished. It's a fierce and tender, beautiful novel.” Aryn Kyle, author of The God of Animals
About the Author
Anton DiSclafani grew up in northern Florida, where she rode horses, competing nationally. She graduated from Emory University, and received her MFA from Washington University. She currently lives in Saint Louis, where she teaches creative writing at Washington University.