A compelling story told with insight and understanding…
Ramsahoye combines adventure and intrigue to create a touching coming-of-age story of survival, friendship, perseverance, and personal journey in her debut YA novel. Thirteen-year-old Justin Attwood is absolutely not thrilled when his dad wants him to sign up for a summer wilderness camp. But trying not to disappoint his dad, Justin agrees and arrives at the camp. A fellow camper, Shawn Miller, soon becomes Justin’s best buddy, and the boys begin to enjoy their rigorous training under the guidance of the head camp instructor Mike. The things are going great, but when an unfortunate accident leaves the trio stranded in the vast wilderness, Justin must go and look for help. But the wild life, unpredictable weather, and the treacherous mountain terrain are not the only hindrances in Justin’s way. He must overcome his own self-doubt and face the situation with courage and intelligence. Ramsahoye’s taut, crisp prose conveys both character and emotion, and the density with which she weaves together the vast detail is astounding, considering her sparse prose (she packs a lot of story into a minimum number of pages. The novella is pretty slender, amounting to 90 pages only). Justin’s anxiety about his father’s expectations reverberates throughout the novel, bringing his inner turmoil to life. Though Justin is forced to face a life-and-death decision while in the vast wilderness, his life is not easy otherwise; his father is extremely driven, and he has older siblings equally successful and determined. But Justin is laid-back, leisurely and has no desire to be at the top when it comes to everyday life. Unable to express himself, he struggles with the burden of letting down his father. Ramsahoye shines in her rendering of Justin, skillfully capturing both the adolescent’s quivering anxiety about him not meeting his father’s high-set expectations and the seemingly nonchalant way he tries to deal with any unfavorable situation. She pulls the reader along with her engrossing storytelling and intelligent, reflective pace. Keeping things simple, she doesn’t overburden young readers with the harsh facts of a grown up’s perspective. Her writing is taut and accessible, the pacing measured, and the plot feels fresh. This poignant, engrossing story of survival, adventure, friendship, and self-discovery offers an accurate portrayal of the adolescent psyche. Middle graders and YA readers will be highly rewarded.
A Wild Ride
By Shellene Ramsahoye
Pub date January 29, 2021
Price $9.44 (USD) Paperback, $24.99 (Hardcover), $5.09 Kindle edition