Kristopher Reisz has a new urban fantasy novel out called Tripping to Somewhere. Billed as Young Adult fiction, this Old Adult started out with a bit of skepticism. I received the book on a Friday night, courtesy of the generous author. Saturday morning I picked it up, intending to read a chapter or two, get a feel for the story...
I read the whole book in one sitting.
(* NOTE: This is not a short book. It is 368 pages. I just read really fast. YMMV.)
Tripping to Somewhere is a well-done, fast-paced read. It's about two high school girls named Sam and Gilly whose home lives aren't exactly out of any Disney movie. A chance encounter with a mystic sends them off on a road trip to find the Witches' Carnival, a loose group of hedonists who transverse the world throwing wild parties. They've been doing it for years- hundreds of years. The girls' goal is simple, find the Witches' Carnival and join up. But nothing is simple when you're on the run, one of you is gay, and oh, yeah, you've stolen thousands of dollars from someone who'd rather you kept quiet about the theft. No one ever said following a dream would be easy, and the Witches' Carnival tests the boundaries and depths of Sam and Gilly's friendship. Moral of the story- Don't underestimate the power of two girls on a mission.
The characters are very well drawn and sympathetic, including Gilly's father, who could have come off as a cliché, but in Reisz's hands rises to the role of anguished parent torn between doing what is safe, and saving his daughter. Watching each character being presented with choices, and how they each deal with those choices is what made this such a fascinating novel. I know there will be howls about the swearing and the fact a character is gay, but the presentation is such that everything works. It is believable. If you think high school girls don't act and swear like that, then get thee down to the nearest institute of education and stand around at lunch time. Reisz was restrained in his use of language.
An extremely well done first novel. I look forward to reading more from Kris Reisz.