Kristopher Reisz' Tripping to Somewhere is one of the weirder books I've read in a long time. And, I mean that in a good way. This book is truly unique.
Sam and Gilly, two "white trash" girls from Atlanta, encounter a homeless man with a black crow--a crow he kills in front of them. He then mentions the Witches' Carnival is coming to town and the crow pieces itself together, cawing loudly and frightening the two girls.
This event sets the girls thinking, though, and soon they're on a wild goose chase in search of the Witches' Carnival. First to New Orleans and then to London. In order to travel, they steal money Gilly's father has stashed under his bed. Gilly rationalizes that it's okay to take the money, as her dad, a cop, stole the cash during a bust.
Gilly and Sam do meet the Witches' Carnival, and they're every bit as wonderful as they had hoped. Even more so, for Gilly. Gilly, a lesbian, falls for Maggie, one of the witches, and is ready to follow her anywhere. Sam, who plays the role of friend with benefits to Gilly, is more apprehensive. But Tripping to Somewhere, above all else, is a story of friendship and Gilly and Sam both take risks for one another and stay true to their friendship in their pursuit of the witches.
While Tripping to Somewhere does contain magical elements, it is not a fantasy novel. (Reisz defines it as Urban Fantasy.) In fact, Tripping to Somewhere is very real in a way that might be too much for some younger teens. Drugs, sex, violence, forgery, and theft all necessarily come into play over the course of the novel as the Witches' Carnival is a group of international, nearly immortal party hosts trafficking in youth, beauty, good times, and mescaline.
Tripping to Somewhere has cult classic written all over it. Give it to a teen who likes edgy, fast-paced, and original reads.
Review copy provided by the author.