BOOK REPORT for Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Cover Story: Montell Jordan

BFF Charm: Eventually

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

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Talky Talk: Howdy, Y’all

Bonus Factor: The Lost Dutchman, Wild West

Relationship Status:

 Vengeance Road- Bowman

Cover Story: Montell Jordan

YES. ALL THE YES. This cover is not only stunning and fits the story within to a T, but also it’s completely unique to the YA genre. Cover designers: more completely illustrated covers, please!

The Deal:

Kate Thompson and her father have been living contentedly on their homestead outside of Prescott, Arizona, tending to their land and making do. Then Kate’s father is murdered by a gang of outlaws known as the Rose Riders, and Kate sets off on a path of vengeance that will change her life forever—if she survives.

BFF Charm: Eventually

I’ve got a stubborn streak a mile wide, and I know it can be tough for others to deal with. But my stubborn streak’s got nothing on Kate’s. I’ve never experienced the death of a loved one at another’s hand, of course, but I’d like to think I’d have a cooler head about the situation than Kate, who takes off like a shot after the men who killed her father, without so much as a real plan other than killing them all until they’re dead. But I appreciate her gumption, and her independent spirit, and I’m sure we could be good friends once she gets the taste for revenge out of her system.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

When Kate first takes off after the Rose Riders, she disguises herself as a boy. She also gains two unwanted partners in Jesse and Will Colton, brothers whose father was a friend of her father’s. At first, the brothers are nothing but a nuisance, but soon it becomes clear that one of the two takes Kate’s mind off the path of vengeance, whether she likes it or not.

Talky Talk: Howdy, Y’all

Vengeance Road is a historical novel, and as such, adheres pretty closely to the speech of the time. Meaning, Erin Bowman included improper grammar and old-timey phrases on purpose. This unusual language threw me at first—I’m an editor by day, and trained to pick up on this sort of incorrect use—but I quickly got into the flow of Kate’s thoughts and the book’s dialogue. So much so, that when a character is introduced who spoke “properly,” I was thrown all over again.

Bonus Factor: Wild West

I don’t read much historical fiction, and much of what I read ends up being historical with a fantastical twist. But Vengeance Road, which is gritty and authentic—down to the nose-wrinkling I did each time someone mentioned how long it had been since they’d bathed—might have been a bit of a gateway drug for me. I’m itching for more Westerns now!

Bonus Factor: The Lost Dutchman

The inspiration for Vengeance Road comes from the legend of The Lost Dutchman, which tells of a hidden gold mine in the Arizona desert. Bowman heard the tale from her husband, then researched it fully—or, as fully as one can research a myth—for the book. A few of the secondary characters in the book are even based on real-life people who lived in the area or have ties to the legend. (Be sure to check out the author’s note for more.)

Anti-Bonus Factor: Death

It’s probably not surprising that there’s a lot of death in a Wild West–set story about revenge, but it’s still a bit jarring just how much shizz goes down in Vengeance Road.

Casting Call:

Hailee Steinfeld as Kate

Yep—totally cheating on this one.

Relationship Status: I’m Your Huckleberry

Although you weren’t the deepest of stories, Book, I enjoyed your tale, and you’ve opened my eyes to the possibilities of a whole new genre. I tip my hat to you.

Vengeance Road is now available.

Mandy lives in Austin, TX, where she's a technical writer by day and a pop culture junkie by night. When she's not ensconced in a book for Forever Young Adult, Mandy can be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.