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Tripping to Somewhere by Kristopher Reisz

Tripping to Somewhere

by Kristopher Reisz

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Gilly knows she's not pretty - she's fat, has acne and is a coward. She clings to posters and clothes but they can't give her a new personality. So she follows her friend Sam around like a lost puppy. Gilly is always picked on at school because she's a lesbian, and Sam is the only one to stick up for her. Sam is straight, but sometimes they screw around, anyways, 'friends with benefits.' Gilly and Sam are rebels, they pull crazy stunts and get into trouble. Sam always says "if you're not pretty, start trouble!"

One night a crazy homeless guy walks into the convenience store where they are hanging out, and everything changes. The next day, at school, Sam announces that she's tired of living with her apathetic mother and perverted step-father and wants to run away to Atlanta to chase down the Witches' Carnival - a children's fantasy about a group of traveling, magical, beautiful, immortal party goers. Gilly agrees to go with her, and they steal $50,000.00 from her father - a crooked cop - to bank roll their insane road trip.

Their quest to find the mythic Witches' Carnival leads the girls to underground clubs, concerts, hedonistic parties, drugs and sex. When they actually meet the Witches, Gilly falls in love with the supernaturally beautiful Maggie, but the mysterious band of immortals (who include Elizabethan playwright and spy Christopher Marlowe among them) give them the slip, and the chase that follows takes Gilly and Sam all the way across the ocean to London, England using fake passports with the police and the Feds hot on their heels.

I can't tell you how much I loved this novel. This is a gripping, trippy, sexy and wild ride through an exotic landscape - strange and wonderful. It's also dark, heartbreaking and crushing. Kristopher Reisz has absolutely nailed the voices and personalities of his teenage protagonists. Reading this book reminded me so much of high school...of course I never had an adventure this cool, but Gilly and Sam's personalities were genuine and their dialogue and relationship was pitch-perfect. Recommended for anyone looking for a good YA novel, or a good gay/lesbian fantasy novel, this is excellent. ( )
  catfantastic | Jan 1, 2012 |
Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for TeensReadToo.com

Gilly just wants to be beautiful, and Samantha just wants to go home. At least, that's what the resident crazy homeless guy in their town tells them late one night. The strange part is when he whispers about the Witches Carnival, and tells Gilly that if she hurries, she can catch it. Everyone knows the Witches Carnival is just a myth, something to dream about when you wish you could escape your life. Funny thing is, both of them want just that. The next day at school Samantha convinces Gilly to run away and search for the Witches Carnival.

The adventures begin. From Alabama, to Georgia, to Florida, to Rhode Island, to London, they chase the Carnival, and the idea of escape. They do and see things and people they could never have imagined. When Gilly hesitates Samantha pushes; when Samantha pauses Gilly convinces. Without each other they wouldn't keep going.

In the end they find out that home isn't always where you'd expect, and beauty is something you have to find in yourself. And that crazy old man might not be so crazy after all, or he just might be...

I feel like I have to add a few notes as to the nature of this book, and some of the things that happen. There is a fair amount of sex in this book. Not just discussions about sex, but actual sex. There's also some drug use. In defense of the drug use, the bad side of both the use and the lifestyle are realistic and somewhat graphic. I would say that both sex and drugs aren't encouraged or discouraged, merely treated as a reality. Overall, though, TRIPPING TO SOMEWHERE is a good, entertaining read. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 13, 2009 |
Tripping to Somewhere is the debut novel by Kristopher Reisz. It was described to me as a cross between Gaiman and Kerouac. While that may be what the author was aiming for, I think its too lofty of a goal for his first book.

The story follows Gilly and Sam a pair of angst filled teenage girls as they run away from home to join the fabled Witches' Carnival.
Their chase takes them on a trip across not only the country, but across the ocean. Along the way they run the gambit of sex, drugs, rock & roll, and even throw in a few felonies for good measure. They find the Carnival, but the cost to join in might just be too much to pay.

Tripping was published by Simon Pulse which is an imprint of Simon and Schuster generally aimed at younger readers. I think I was outside the key demographic audience for this book. While I found it fairly enjoyable, and a fun easy read, It did nothing to particularly grab me. Perhaps I'm just not capable of empathizing with an angst filled teenage lesbian, but the characters did not make me care about them. The situations they got into and out of seemed too unrealistic for me, even in a fantasy novel.

All in all, while I don't think its a great novel, I think that it will appeal to many teens, who are looking to live vicariously through the protagonists. As I said it was a fun read despite the flaws.

6 out of 10 ( )
  RaceBannon42 | Dec 28, 2006 |
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This is a story about a road so long no one can get to the end of it by themselves.
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...until the night some freak wanders into the convenience store where Sam and Gilly are hanging out. He lets them in on a secret: The Witches Carnival is nearby. If they travel fast they might catch it.

It's everyone's glittery fantasy turned real: to follow the Carnivals mystic band of beautiful people as they defy every limit and dance through history-all in search of a good time.

Sam wants to go for it, to cut ties with home and reach for the dreams. But on the road, it;s Gilly who becomes enchanted.

The girls leave everything behind. So in pursuit, they'll have nothing left to lose.... except each other.
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