Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Across the Desert, by Dusti Bowling

Okay, it's official:  I'm a Dusti Bowling fan.  The first book I read by her was "The Canyon's Edge."  It's a beautiful, heartbreaking novel in verse, and I loved it—even though I'm not a huge poetry fan.

"Across the Desert" is a prose novel, and Dusti Bowling has shown that she can do both and do them well. 

And yeah, maybe the premise is a little hard to swallow, but just swallow it.  You'll thank me later.

I loved the characters.  The writing was engaging. 

I loved the setting.  I'm an Arizonan who loves the outdoors, and it's nice to see our deserts represented in a kid's book.  I'm not familiar with the Alamo Lake area, so I can't speak to Bowling's accuracy there, but she accurately portrayed the central Arizona summer heat (and didn't add to the myth of the summer desert suddenly plunging to freezing temperatures overnight).  My main criticism of "The Canyon's Edge" was that some of the Arizona-ness of it seemed exaggerated to the point of inaccuracy, which made for a good story but kind of bothered me.  In this book, I felt she painted a much more realistic picture of our desert and the real obstacles and dangers the main character would face. 

The plot and pacing were good.  The situation just kept going from bad to worse.  I cared greatly (and worried about) what would happen to the characters.

All in all, a great read.   Now I'm going to have to read everything else she's written.

More accurate rating—more like 4.5 (But a high 4.5)

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