By Kirsten Hubbard
It’s hard to find beauty in the badlands of
. Fourteen-year-old Grace Carpenter sure knows there’s nothing beautiful about her mother’s pageant obsessions, or about the cowboy dances or pickup trucks adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild girl Mandarin Ramey: seventeen, shameless, and utterly carefree. Studious and self-conscious Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin. Washokey, Wyoming
When these girls, so utterly different from one another, are united for a school project, they embark on an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town’s animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. When Mandarin suggests that they make a pact to run away, Grace goes along with the idea on a whim. Maybe it’s the wildwinds that plague their badlands town that make her say yes.
After a while, however, Grace has second thoughts. It turns out that Mandarin’s unique beauty hides a girl who’s troubled – even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep their friendship alive, even the strongest relationships can’t withstand betrayal.
Kirsten Hubbard’s bold novel will resonate with anyone who has ever yearned to escape – from home, from others, or from herself.
Do you find yourself getting so excited for a new book because of all of the recommendations that you can’t wait to read it expecting something fantastic, like nothing you have ever read before? Then you find yourself disappointed because it just wasn’t THAT great? Well I find that with this book. It wasn’t a badly written book; it just wasn’t great. The premise of this book is interesting: we all want to be something/someone we are not. Both girls have issues that can cause pain to another but none more than Mandarin. I think Grace’s issues really just came from wanting to be more of herself but her immaturity was holding her back. She is a brilliantly smart girl that wants to be free of her small town to do something more. Because of this she is not part of a social crowd so she feels lonely and left out. She is quite shy and soft spoken. She looks up to the bad girl in the town, Mandarin, and envy’s her boldness and beauty. Soon they become friends as they are put together so Grace can be Mandarin’s tutor. It is an interesting story of friendship and discovery on both girls’ parts. Even though I wasn’t totally enthralled with the story I still had to find out what happened to them both.
I give this 3 stars. I wouldn’t offer up this book as something everyone would want to read but I wouldn’t give it a bad recommendation either. So I guess I have left you with your own devices on this one!