I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Valley Girls by Sarah Nicole Lemon
Published by Abrams on 8th May 2018
When 17-year-old Rilla is busted for partying 24 hours into arriving in Yosemite National Park to live with her park ranger sister, it’s a come-to-Jesus moment.
Determined to make up for her screw-up and create a stable new home for herself, Rilla charms her way into a tight-knit group of climbers. But Rilla can’t help but be seduced by experiences she couldn’t have imagined back home. She sets her sights on climbing El Capitan, one of the most challenging routes in Yosemite, and her summer becomes one harrowing and ecstatic experience after another: first climb, first fall two thousand feet in the air, first love. But becoming the person Rilla feels she was meant to be jeopardises the reasons why she came to Yosemite—a bright new future and a second chance at sisterhood. When her family and her future are at odds, what will Rilla choose?
Following an incident at home in Rainelle, West Virginia, 17 year old Rilla is sent to stay with her elder sister, Thea, a Ranger in Yosemite, California. She has schoolwork to catch up on over the summer if she wants to graduate high school and Thea is determined to see her achieve it.
It seems she is the only person in Yosemite who doesn’t climb or hike. So when she makes friends with a group of climbers, she gets some lessons and catches the climbing bug.
This is probably best described as a ‘coming of age’ tale. Rilla arrives in Yosemite at the start of summer and is lost and low, but we see her progress as the story evolves.
I wanted to enjoy this book and there were parts I did get caught up in but overall I found it pretty lacklustre. For the first 80 pages or so I was pretty bored, to be honest.
Evidently, the author has a love of climbing and this shines through, but at times I found all the technical jargon a bit too much. Don’t get me wrong, I did learn along with Rilla, but at times I couldn’t process, or want to process, all the climbing lingo.
I felt that most of this book trundled along, then at the end, when there was finally some action, it was rushed. I’d have liked more of the action at the end and less preamble.
Also, I didn’t really care that much about the characters. I wasn’t particularly rooting for any of them and I find books like that hard to get into.
This wasn’t really the book for me. I learned about Yosemite and (when I wasn’t overwhelmed) about climbing but I was left pretty disappointed by this read.