Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of The Canyon’s Edge by Dusti Bowling

The Canyon’s Edge by Dusti Bowling
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 10, 2020
ISBN: 9780316494687 

Nora and her father are haunted by the death of Nora’s mother one year ago. Through what is meant to be an enjoyable day trip hiking in a canyon, we learn about the circumstances surrounding her death, and how Nora and her father have dealt with their trauma. When a flash flood separates Nora from her father and their supplies, she must rely on her wits and physical and emotional strength to survive alone in the harsh desert environment.

The Canyon’s Edge layers two gripping and traumatic stories, one from the past and one from the present, making it consistently engaging and emotionally resonant. It begins and ends in prose, but the shock of the flash flood pushes Nora’s narration into the more emotional format of stream-of-consciousness free verse, which makes up the majority of the book. Bowling incorporates creative uses of verse and illustrations to make the whole experience even more immersive. The survival story is propulsive and harrowing, but it is the underlying emotions that make it especially memorable. Readers will be rooting for Nora to confront her demons head-on and make it out of the canyon alive.

Fans of Alone by Megan E. Freeman, A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti, and the television show “The Wilds” will be drawn in by this raw, emotional survival story that explores manifestations of grief and trauma.

–Laura Indick, Brooklyn, NY

Other Nominated Titles

  • Starfish by Lisa Fipps (March 9, 2021)

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are available on The Hub.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.