ARC Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman


Vengeance Road
Series: None
Author: Erin Bowman
Published September 1st 2015 by HMH Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Synopsis
When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice.
What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there's room for love in a heart so full of hate.
In the spirit of True Grit, the cut-throat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.   

I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.

This book is one I've been waiting ages for, and as soon as I was approved for it, I had to start it, TBR be damned. Vengeance Road is one of the first Western books I've ever read, and I think it's the first YA of its kind - though Walk on Earth a Stranger is also coming out in September. This book was raw, and real, and the sheer intensity of the events made it appear as if we were actually with Kate and Jesse when everything was happening.

From the very start of the book, Vengeance Road deals with tough, heartbreaking issues. Kate returns home one day to find her father hanging from a tree, and their family home burnt to ashes. From this point on, Kate, pretending to be a boy named Nate, is thrust into a path of revenge, and her only help is in the form of Jesse and Will, sons of a family friend. Over time, and once the boys discover that Nate doesn't exist, and is actually a teenage girl called Kate, they become even closer.

To be perfectly honest, I shipped Jesse and Kate from neigh on their first meeting, and as they interacted more and more, the shipping intensified. Every moment between them seemed believable, and they weren't all lovely dovey - there were times when they argued and never spoke, and others that were so sweet, I couldn't stop smiling. I think one very good thing about this book, also, is that it's a standalone. This means we haven't had to suffer unnecessarily through angst between the characters, just to spread the plot out a bit more.

As I've already said, this book was rough. It was brutal at times in the details, especially those relating to death, and this made it more imaginable, as if it was a movie playing in my head. Considering I pride myself on being able to guess plot twists, I was blown away by this book. The twist towards the end was so unexpected, I was thrown as much as Kate was. However, I'm glad with how this twist panned out in the long run, and with where Kate was on the final page.

Overall, whilst I'd known I'd love this book, I was totally caught unaware on just how enjoyable it was. I'm seriously grateful to HMH Kids for approving my copy, and I definitely need to get my hands on copies of Bowman's other books. Her writing style is fantastic, and I can't to read more of her work. Vengeance Road was an amazing historical YA book, and the amount of research Bowman put into the novel soothed my history student heart. I can't recommend this book enough. Seriously, just read it - you won't be disappointed!

Dates Read:
July 14-15, 2015

5 Stars 

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