Library Journal Review
Gr 8 Up-Setting a coming-of-age story in the framework of an unwelcome wilderness expedition is a bit of a tired conceit, but in Younge-Ullman's outstanding YA novel, a teen's backwoods journey becomes exciting and emotionally engrossing. Ingrid has had an unorthodox upbringing with a single opera star mother who suffers a devastating career loss. After Mom is forced to settle into a more traditional job and life, she is almost completely derailed by deep depression. As part of a mother-daughter deal to find a healthy future for both, Ingrid is sent on a youth wilderness trip. Mostly set in the northern Ontario wilderness, the novel alternates between the "now" of the 21-day trek and the "then" of Ingrid's turbulent adjustment to settled life. Ingrid's never-sent letters to her mother appear throughout the narrative and detail her physical and emotional struggles through attacks of vampirelike mosquitoes and black flies, grueling portages, and much more challenging experiences, including an attempted sexual assault. And while the settings are vividly realized, it's the author's characterization skills that bring this narrative to life. The realistic ending makes it clear that Ingrid will overcome her difficulties and that healing is a journey and not a destination. VERDICT This compelling tale of loss and self-discovery is recommended for most libraries serving teens ages 13-plus.-Susan Riley, Mamaroneck Public Library, NY © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
Ingrid used to travel all over Europe and watch her vivacious opera-star mother, Margot-Sophia, headline shows and dazzle audiences. So why, at 17, is she now at a wilderness camp for at-risk teens, in the middle of nowhere, just trying to keep herself warm and dry? After surgery on her vocal cords forces Margot-Sophia to leave her opera career behind, she turns her back on music completely, despite Ingrid's attempts to draw her back to singing. When Ingrid gets the lead in her school's musical, their already fraught relationship almost breaks, as Ingrid is treading in artistic waters that Margot-Sophia has chosen to leave behind. Younge-Ullman's expert pacing and narrative style of alternating perspectives between Ingrid's younger self and present-day diary entries guide readers to understanding, along with Ingrid, that rather than being at the wilderness camp to prove something to her mother, she is there for herself. Ultimately a book about complicated family relationships and depression, this will speak to fans of Sarah Dessen.--Kling, Caitlin Copyright 2016 Booklist