Author: Danielle Younge-Ullman
Ingrid has made a deal with her mother: she gets to go to the school of her choice as long as she completes a three-week wilderness programme. But when Ingrid arrives, she quickly realizes there has been a terrible mistake: there will be no marshmallows or cabins here. Instead, her group will embark on a torturous trek, with almost no guidance from the two counsellors and supplied with only the things they can carry. On top of this, the other teen participants are “at risk youth”, a motley crew of screw-ups, lunatics and delinquents. But as the laborious days go by, and as memories of her complicated past come flooding back, Ingrid must confront the question of whether she shares more in common with these troubled teens than she’s willing to admit.The first I heard of this book, it was being pitched as The Breakfast Club meets camping, or something quite similar. To me, that is probably the perfect way to describe it. And it was a huge part of the reason I wanted to read it, as The Breakfast Club just so happens to be one of my all time favourite movies. I finished this book with tears in my eyes and an overwhelming feeling of happiness, this book didn't just meet my expectations, it exceeded them.
Ingrid has been sent off to camp, and she is not looking forward to it. She is imagining uncomfortable bunks, cabins and having to go to the toilet in an outhouse. None of them are pleasant ideas to her. She is determined though, she made a deal with her mother to do it. If Ingrid can make it through the two weeks at the camp then she can go to a prestigious school in London to study. The only problem is the camp turns out to be worse than she imagined. The camp is not a camp at all, it's a tiring two week trek through the wilderness, sleeping in tents and with no toilets in site. Ingrid's idea of hell. Not to mention she is in a camp with 'at risk teens', something she definitely wouldn't call herself. But Ingrid is stronger than she knows and there is more to her camp mates than she assumes.
I really liked Ingrid as a main character, especially since she is such a complex character. She clearly has a strained relationship with her mother at this time, given the fact her mum has sent her to the camp. She is also closed off, not willing to open about herself or what led her to the camp. She doesn't feel like she fits there, she sees herself differently to the others at the camp. I thoroughly enjoyed watching her character grow stronger, not just physically but emotionally. I loved seeing her open up to the others, standing up for herself and finding her voice.
This book also deals with some serious issues and I love it for that. It deals with depression, something I love seeing done well in YA books, especially as I have struggled with and used medication to help with depression in the past. It also deals so well with sexual assault, how that was handled in this book was just so perfect to me. Not to mention the perfect and complex mother daughter relationship here. Honestly, I am just so impressed with Danielle Younge-Ullman and I will read whatever she comes out with next.
This book was so much more than I had expected, I can fully admit that it didn't just hit me in the feels, it punched me so hard in them I wanted to double over in pain. I was a little bit of a weepy mess, but I kind of loved that. There is just so much about this book that I really loved. My only hang up is the same problem I have with almost every contemporary I read and that is that it felt too rushed at the end and there wasn't enough closure. It is the same with so many contemporary books, where you're holding just a few pages in your hands at the end of the book but feel there should be about another 30-50 pages to go. Don't get me wrong, the story wraps up and does it so well. I just felt maybe Ingrid's return from camp could have been given more time, so we have more time to adjust to that and see how it all plays out.