A Prayer for Travelers

A Prayer for Travelers

This daring debut novel propels readers into the world of Penny and Cale, two marginalized young women who forge an intense bond against a constricting backdrop of violence and isolation in Nevada's northern desert.Cale, a bookish loner of mysterious parentage, was abandoned by her mother and raised by her grandfather in a loving, if codependent, household. One pivotal...

DownloadRead Online
Title:A Prayer for Travelers
Author:Ruchika Tomar
Rating:

A Prayer for Travelers Reviews

  • Anne ✨

    Wow! I adored this gritty noir mystery/coming-of-age debut! It has gorgeous writing, a suspenseful edginess, and a Nevada desert town setting that drips with desolation and desperation.

    The story is told in a non-linear format, slowly revealing out-of-order moments in the life of 17yr old Cale, who is searching for her friend Penny, who has disappeared. There's a strongly haunted feel, with a powerful build-up of tension and some startling twists and turns along the way. Themes of family, love,

    Wow! I adored this gritty noir mystery/coming-of-age debut! It has gorgeous writing, a suspenseful edginess, and a Nevada desert town setting that drips with desolation and desperation.

    The story is told in a non-linear format, slowly revealing out-of-order moments in the life of 17yr old Cale, who is searching for her friend Penny, who has disappeared. There's a strongly haunted feel, with a powerful build-up of tension and some startling twists and turns along the way. Themes of family, love, friendship, abandonment, trauma, and violence are explored in powerful and unusual ways.

    The audio performance by Sophie Amoss was excellent, beautifully capturing the tension, the grit, and the desolation. As soon as I'd finished this one, I wanted to rewind and listen all over again!

  • Janet

    This book, about the friendship of two very different young women in a desert town so small its known only to those who live there. A quiet girl who cares for her grandfather on the land, sensitive to the small nuances of texture and love, and a brash, explosive girl trying to create a space of color and vivid life in the constricted limits of her existence. It reminded me of the dying town of the Last Picture Show, the same sand and trucks and neglected screen doors slamming in the wind, and

    This book, about the friendship of two very different young women in a desert town so small its known only to those who live there. A quiet girl who cares for her grandfather on the land, sensitive to the small nuances of texture and love, and a brash, explosive girl trying to create a space of color and vivid life in the constricted limits of her existence. It reminded me of the dying town of the Last Picture Show, the same sand and trucks and neglected screen doors slamming in the wind, and the work of Joy Williams, the modern west and two approaches to the problem of being born into a harsh land. The quiet girl's dogged loyalty and love for her vivid friend and her grandfather is the book's engine, but the girl's interior life and the texture of this place is the book's glory. Beautiful and haunting.

  • Stacey A.  Prose and Palate

    “The entire right side of my face was throbbing, but Penny still looked beautiful; her exquisite features unmarred. She bore no physical changes from the events of the evening, no by-product of terror beyond the characteristic flush of her cheeks. Yet it was her beauty that had been the catalyst for all disaster. It worked on men like a disease.”

    I love books that push the envelope and challenge me, whether it’s through the content covered or the style in which the story is written. A Prayer

    “The entire right side of my face was throbbing, but Penny still looked beautiful; her exquisite features unmarred. She bore no physical changes from the events of the evening, no by-product of terror beyond the characteristic flush of her cheeks. Yet it was her beauty that had been the catalyst for all disaster. It worked on men like a disease.”

    I love books that push the envelope and challenge me, whether it’s through the content covered or the style in which the story is written. A Prayer for Travelers did both and even though I finished my buddy read with Lupita over a month ago, we were still DM’ing about this story as of yesterday. To me, THAT is the sign of a good book. So what exactly is it about this jarring debut that has made it so memorable?

    For starters, the writing is STUNNING. Ruchika has a way with words that left me breathless at times - from the beauty of her descriptions as well as from the sheer brutality that occurs within her writing. It reads like a fevered dream, at some points, more of a nightmare - with frightening, panicked scenes interspersed throughout. The story is centered around Cale and Penny, two teenage girls who dare to want something more for their lives and who both desperately want to escape their current circumstances. The non-linear writing format allows the reader to be completely immersed in the chaos and confusion that Cale experiences when Penny goes missing and Cale begins her frantic search for her friend. You begin the story in Chapter 31 and then move to Chapter 3, which I will admit, took some getting used to for me in the beginning. I later learned from the author that her intent behind the chapter lay out was to mimic the way we process and cope with trauma. Often, events are recalled out of order and large periods of time are unaccounted for, so the writing style is incredibly effective in disorienting the reader and making you question absolutely everything that is happening.

    Cale is very much alone in the world - she has lost her mother to drugs and is being raised by her grandfather, who loves her deeply but has recently become very distant as he struggles with his cancer diagnosis. She is a loner at school and in the town - an outsider looking in - who, more than anything, wants to be noticed by the local “it” girl, Penny. When Cale takes a job at the same restaurant where Penny works, a fast and obsessive friendship develops. Penny as a character is elusive - Tomar allows brief glimpses in to her life, but for the most part, the development of Penny’s story is much like a mirage in the desert. I had a bad feeling the more that I read and warning bells were going off all around me. Many times I found myself yelling at the book, CALE WHAT ARE YOU DOING?? GET OUT OF THERE!! But if Penny said “jump”, Cale said “how high?” Her blind trust in her new found “friend” was very difficult for me to read at times and it leads to a horrific incident in the desert one night where both of the girls lives are altered forever.

    This book will not be for everyone….. yes, it is a story about the resilience of women and their fierce refusal to be broken by their circumstances but it is a very tough read. A Prayer for Travelers really examines trauma and how it shapes the female experience… it’s about how women process assault experiences, lean on one another and attempt to cope.… how women get up every day and put one foot in front of the other, even when the unspeakable has happened to them. And for Cale, it was also about the longing for female connection, for a sense of belonging, for wanting more than what she had and daring to think that she could go out and grab it. Did she ultimately achieve that or was she just another one of Penny’s hustles? You will have to read the book and find out.

    Many thanks to Riverhead Books for providing an advanced copy for me in exchange for my honest review.

  • Barbara

    “A Prayer For Travelers” is Ruchika Tomar’s debut novel. It’s a literary mystery involving a loner teenage girl and her missing fearless friend.

    Cale is that awkward girl in school who has no friends. She’s raised by her grandfather, Lamb, after her mother abandoned her. They live in a small town in Nevada near all night casinos and diners. Soon after graduating from high school, Lamb get very ill which upheaves Cale’s life. Lamb never was a hands-on parent, and with his illness Cale falls into

    “A Prayer For Travelers” is Ruchika Tomar’s debut novel. It’s a literary mystery involving a loner teenage girl and her missing fearless friend.

    Cale is that awkward girl in school who has no friends. She’s raised by her grandfather, Lamb, after her mother abandoned her. They live in a small town in Nevada near all night casinos and diners. Soon after graduating from high school, Lamb get very ill which upheaves Cale’s life. Lamb never was a hands-on parent, and with his illness Cale falls into emotional chaos.

    The novel is suspenseful yet quiet in a literary fashion. Tomar writes the atmosphere as bleak and gloomy. Cale herself is like the scenery. After Lamb is ill, she is rudderless. She began working as a waitress after high school and become friends with one of the fascinating girls in high school who were a year older than she. The girl, Penny, has plans to get out of her situation, and she’ll do rash things to get funding. Penny is Cale’s first and only friend, and Cale becomes involved in some of Penny’s dubious activities. When Penny goes missing after a traumatic event (which is part of the mystery), Cale goes on a quest to find her.

    I’ll confess I was a bit confused at the start of the novel, as I didn’t grasp that the chapters were out of sequence. Thus, the story unfolds in a chaotic manner that adds suspense. The sadness of this little town in the middle of nowhere with girls who have no direction or hope is felt in every page. The truth of the incredible strong bonds young girls make in friendship is real and Tomar writes that bond with reality.

    I loved this novel from start to finish. I am surprised that it has received minimal press. This is one that will stay with me.

  • Megan P ☆

    4.25/5

    CW: sexual abuse/assault & violence (both in-text)

    I really loved this but it wasn’t an easy read.

    Pros: Absolutely excellent writing and atmosphere, with characters you deeply care about. I could visualize every face and place in this book with total clarity. It was a suspenseful story (The Sandman chapters actually had my heart racing) and made me want to keep coming back for more. It was also wholly unique. I saw someone compare it to a favorite, Sadie by Courtney Summers, and that

    4.25/5

    CW: sexual abuse/assault & violence (both in-text)

    I really loved this but it wasn’t an easy read.

    Pros: Absolutely excellent writing and atmosphere, with characters you deeply care about. I could visualize every face and place in this book with total clarity. It was a suspenseful story (The Sandman chapters actually had my heart racing) and made me want to keep coming back for more. It was also wholly unique. I saw someone compare it to a favorite, Sadie by Courtney Summers, and that piqued my interest. They definitely share some similarities- unconventional road trip stories with feminist themes- but, again, this book feels very special in its uniqueness.

    Cons: There’s some hints here that “A Prayer for Travelers” is a debut novel. I really believe the author will continue to improve over time; she’s obviously got talent and I’d enthusiastically pick up whatever she does next. Perhaps the biggest problem for me was the organization of this book; it was messy. I love a good non-chronological story, but apparently I’m not clever enough to follow more than two distinct/significant alternating timelines. This was often hard to follow. I’d like to go back and reread the chapters in their numbered order eventually.

    This will absolutely not be for everyone but I think it’s worth giving it a shot.

  • Taryn Pierson

    I've seen this book compared to

    , and it IS a lot like Sadie, right up until it isn't--in a very good way. I had no idea what was going to happen from one chapter to the next, and that disorientation made for a bit of a slow start, but once I settled in, it had the opposite effect and I was turning pages faster and faster.

    Also, I asked my library to buy this book for their collection, and they did! I'm drunk on the power! :D

  • Paltia

    An imaginative tale of the symmetrical and complimentary relationship between two female friends. There are those places deep inside where past pain and trauma lodge themselves. They may, in part, result in loneliness and alienation and/or in wearing a disguise and appearing to be having the time of one’s life. Two young women, superficially so different and yet so alike find one another. They gradually discover that some troubles and distress can be alleviated in learning to share the pleasures

    An imaginative tale of the symmetrical and complimentary relationship between two female friends. There are those places deep inside where past pain and trauma lodge themselves. They may, in part, result in loneliness and alienation and/or in wearing a disguise and appearing to be having the time of one’s life. Two young women, superficially so different and yet so alike find one another. They gradually discover that some troubles and distress can be alleviated in learning to share the pleasures of friendship. Together they head off to develop a connection that just might see them through the best and worst of times. When evil comes calling a challenge to their relationship is created that will not be easily overcome. Tomar examines female friendship up close. She invites the reader to consider the roles of loyalty, sacrifice, trust and the lengths one will go to defend and save a relationship.

  • Michelle

    I've seen some people compare this to

    and I'd say it's of the same vein. It's main characters are young girls, it's very dark and also unique. That's where the similarities end. In this book, Cale, is on a search to try and find her friend, Penny. Penny has just disappeared and no one seems to care. Meanwhile, Cale's guardian (who also happens to be her

    I've seen some people compare this to

    and I'd say it's of the same vein. It's main characters are young girls, it's very dark and also unique. That's where the similarities end. In this book, Cale, is on a search to try and find her friend, Penny. Penny has just disappeared and no one seems to care. Meanwhile, Cale's guardian (who also happens to be her grandfather), is dying of cancer and their relationship is growing more and more strained. Super cheerful, right?!!? Well, no one goes into reading this book looking for rainbows and sunshine. There is plenty of sunshine, but it is the hot and oppressive kind. Here is my breakdown:

    : 1) The writing. It is atmospheric at its very best. You are there in that hot, disgusting, dry desert. The perfect PSA against ever making me want to live in Nevada (sorry). Way too hot for me. (Similar to how the show, The Killing, made me never want to live in Seattle.) However, that illustrates how perfect of a job the author did of making this place come alive.

    2)The time jumping structure - as it illustrates the main characters difficulty with coping to all the horrible things that have just happened at almost the same time. The parts with the "event" were written so well (and at night when I was reading with a flashlight) mirrored perfectly with my setting in how much I was creeped out and shaken by it. There were certain parts that were so strong that it gave me that push I needed to continue and also know I would give a future work by this author a try. I put this in the good category because it was very creative, effective to what people go through when dealing with trauma and the book gods smiled in our favor because at least each chapter is numbered. Some authors choose to time jump without introducing the time period you're in so you're mind is left racing trying to find your place in the timeline. No worries for that here, but plan to flip back and forth a lot (at least I did).

    : 1) The time jumping structure - made it hard to remember the order of things and where you were in the story. Not so much while you were reading, but when you picked it back up again. A physical book works best here so you can flip the pages back and forth to remember where the heck you were in the timeline of the story. Electronic format would be too annoying to do this and I probably would have given up or understood even less than I did reading it the first time. Maybe the whole point was to have gaps in understanding because it was very clear there were gaps with the characters?

    So as you can see, two things in the good category and only one thing in the bad. A very frustrating review to write and I'm sure, a very frustrating review to read. I eagerly await more people to read this so I can discuss it with someone!! This would make a really great book club book - best to read with friends so you can help each other figure out what happened. I look forward to the author's next effort. I can't wait to see what she does next as I think she is a very promising talent for her writing style alone.

    Thanks again to the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library for supplying my copy to loan and enjoy. :)

    Review Date: 08/04/19

    Publication Date: 07/09/19

  • ☮Karen

    3.5 stars. This book surprised me with Chapters numbered 31, then 2, then 5, then 3, etc., which usually really, really irritates me. But actually the numbering helped me to keep straight where in the story we were at all the different timelines. I also liked the grittiness of the desert setting (not as in sand in your mouth grittiness) and the friendship that developed between Cale (odd name) and Penny, two young women not long out of the school where they knew of each other but were never

    3.5 stars. This book surprised me with Chapters numbered 31, then 2, then 5, then 3, etc., which usually really, really irritates me. But actually the numbering helped me to keep straight where in the story we were at all the different timelines. I also liked the grittiness of the desert setting (not as in sand in your mouth grittiness) and the friendship that developed between Cale (odd name) and Penny, two young women not long out of the school where they knew of each other but were never friendly. Cale leads sort of a depressing life and Penny is a wild child, so they mix like oil and water yet are bonded when they get into a spot of trouble together. Then Penny disappears. Getting the police involved might not net the results Cale hoped for.

    In the end, I am glad to have listened to this but it probably needs a bit more excitement to spice it up in order to appeal to a larger audience. For me, it was a likeable read, and a fine narration, but nothing to write home about.

  • Kelly

    The blurbs on this book are so Literary and don't tell you that this is a mystery, told out of order, about a brown girl named Cale who is raised by her grandfather who becomes entwined with a brown girl named Penny who goes missing. They're close friends -- though we only kind of believe this to be true, as the friendship seems one sided -- so Cale wants to know what happened to Penny and why it is she disappeared.

    Set in the west, in the desert, this well-paced, cleverly crafted, and gorgeously

    The blurbs on this book are so Literary and don't tell you that this is a mystery, told out of order, about a brown girl named Cale who is raised by her grandfather who becomes entwined with a brown girl named Penny who goes missing. They're close friends -- though we only kind of believe this to be true, as the friendship seems one sided -- so Cale wants to know what happened to Penny and why it is she disappeared.

    Set in the west, in the desert, this well-paced, cleverly crafted, and gorgeously written story offers up a slice of American narrative we don't see enough in that setting.

    This reminded me a lot of

    , for the way the mystery plays out and how it's told non-sequentially.

Best Books Online is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2019 Best Books Online - All rights reserved.