Sunday, September 27, 2015

Teen review: Western

Vengeance Road 
by Erin Bowman
336 pages
Western-inspired thriller
Not part of a series
8th grade and up

Reviewed by Patrick Castro, grade 12

Thrilling. Racing. Action-packed. Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman is a novel that is unique and fresh, featuring a strong protagonist with a passion driving her around the dry, hot desert of the West. I enjoyed reading it.

The novel begins with Kate Thompson (who is disguised as Nate Thompson) hoping to find her father's journal. Her father was killed by the Rose Riders, and now Kate has no one left but herself. She is a strong, fierce character who radiates off the pages. She has one goal, and she achieves it. While there are tons of action and suspense in the novel, Bowman balances them with a growing romance between Kate and Jesse. She introduces two guys, Jesse and Will, who help Kate on her path to vengeance. I enjoyed seeing how they worked together. I thought Kate and Jesse were great for each other, and I love the companionship they shared. The novel may have a small cast of characters, but Bowman does a fantastic job weaving in the Rose Riders, the Wild West, and Kate.

One thing that stood out from the novel that I enjoyed was the ending. It took me by surprise! Bowman blows your mind with a twist you won't see coming. The least I could say is that it was suspenseful! I love how the book came together.

Vengeance Road was a great novel. I do wish it had been more complex in terms of Kate as a character and in her family relations. But that being said, it was still a fantastic book that will have you looking at the West in a whole new light.

Editor's note: It's so refreshing to see a western for young adults! Not many of those out there, and I'm not sure why. Historical fiction fans, this one might appeal to you, too! (It's set in 1877 Arizona.) Also, don't you love the cover art? If you like this book, NoveList also suggests you might like Under A Painted Sky, by Stacey Lee.

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