They didn’t entice her or make promises to get Evie to stray from her ordinary life; it was through her own eyes that Evie decided to visit the ranch. This ranch offered her something she didn’t have and it made her into someone she wanted to be.
The year was 1969 and Evie was fourteen, there was nothing special about her and with no friends to account for, and boarding school starting in the fall, she had the summer to burn. She witnessed Suzanne dumpster diving for food and that began her attraction with her, their story just beginning and her summer of change just around the corner. Suzanne had a way about her, a carefree-style with her lengthy black hair that lured Evie in. An argument with her mother leaves Evie on the side of the road with a broken bike just as a bus pulls alongside offering assistance. Suzanne is among the passengers and they offer her a ride. They’re headed to a party and as Evie accepts the invitation and steps inside the tricked out bus, complete with beads, feathers, cushions, she is elated. They have accepted her and are excited to have her amongst them. They talk about a man named Russell. The words they use to describe him are as if he is a great leader, a deliverer. As they reach the ranch, Evie’s mind is racing. Never in her wildest dreams had she ever imagined a place like this. Her feelings are mixed as there are aspects that she loves about the place and others that are unusual, things that she will have to ponder. The language they speak of is freedom, of love and community. The thought of individualism is out the door. Evie starts to think of her life as her old world and her new world and now the ranch has become a part of her life. The ranch, its existence is ever-changing and the energy flowing through it sparks tension and excitement.
I had a hard time grasping the beginning of this novel but I stuck it out and blazed right through the middle and ending. Reading the middle and ending of this novel were nothing like the beginning, it flowed and I had no problems following it. I liked the character of Evie as I thought she was looking for something and she found it in Suzanne and the ranch. She was accepted by others at the ranch and she had a summer of unbelievable experiences. As she traveled back and forth to the ranch and lived at home that summer, I feel she lived and she matured. Her relationship with Suzanne, I feel that she wanted more from her than what Suzanne was offering. Suzanne was a great friend and at times almost acting like a mother to her but Evie was consumed by her. I believe it was because Evie had no one else and she was attracted to her. Evie was young, the world in which she lived in was totally different than the world she saw at the ranch and she also was indecisive about what she wanted so anything was game at this point in her life. The ranch was her escape and it offered her much more.
I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Random House in exchange for an honest review.