Every girl at the Alice Marshall School was sent there because of her Thing.
For some girls, it's sex.
For others, it's stealing.
For Lida, it's a secret.
And she's going to keep it that way.
The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area stretches across two million acres in central Idaho, with the Alice Marshall School for Girls at its heart. When Lida arrives at AMS, she meets Boone, who once burned down a building; Jules, who seems too happy to belong at the school; and Gia, whose glamour entrances everyone she meets. As they prepare for their personal wilderness treks, Lida is both thrilled and terrified to be chosen as Gia's friend. But all the girls have their own secrets to guard - and when those come out, the knives do too.
Reminiscent of Speak and Cut in its perceptive voice, sharp wit, and willingness to face the darkness inside each of us, The Girls of No Return is a bold and powerful debut.
Reviews and Awards
2012 Montana Book Award Honor
Kansas State Reading Circle
⋆ “This debut is richly rewarding and will linger for its subtle examination of human behavior and emotions - love, trust, guilt and forgiveness. A smashing debut.” - Kirkus Reviews, starred review
⋆ “Secrets and lies, betrayal and trust, friends and enemies - there are weighty themes at the heart of this bold, compelling debut novel. Sixteen-year-old Lida is forced to attend the Alice Marshall School, which sits at the center of The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in northern Idaho. It’s a place where troubled girls are sent to figure out their biggest issue, or “Thing.” For most, the “Thing” is a closely guarded secret, and it’s no exception for Lida. Despite efforts to fade into the background, she is pulled into the worlds of two fellow students: hard-as-nails Boone and mysterious Gia. Boone has never taken an interest in another student - until Lida - and Lida has never before been so powerfully drawn to another person—until Gia. How the lives of these three girls clash is both surprising and mesmerizing. The drama is set against two million acres of wilderness, which serves as a fitting backdrop for a survival story. It’s not the mountain lions and bears that most threaten the girls, though; they need protection from themselves and each other. Saldin leisurely leads readers down a rocky path until the novel speeds up to its chilling climax. So much more than a typical problem novel, this psychological mind-bender is raw, gripping, and deftly rolled out by a writer-to-watch.” - Booklist, starred review
“[A] smart, absorbing story about damaged girls realizing how hard it is to connect with other people when you don’t trust anyone.” - New York Times Book Review
“Saldin presents the complex, layered terrain of relationships that develop among teens who share cabins and cigarettes and bathhouse duty but often know only the bare minimum about one another’s former lives…. The remote setting enhances the palpable sense of danger; some of the girls fear bears or mountain lions, but, really, the scariest thing they could confront in those woods is one another. And themselves.” - Horn Book
“This debut novel is compelling…. Believable situations, conversations, and setting make this novel a must-read for not only the story, but the truths. Teens will not be able to put this one down.” - Library Media Connection
Young Adult Fiction
Trim Size: 5 1/2" x 8 1/4"
Page Count: 352
Foreign Rights: Scholastic
Translation Rights: Scholastic
Rights Available? yes