Halfway to Schist

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Set in the summer of 1955, Halfway to Schist is a heartwarming story about a teenage girl who endeavors to make new friends in a new environment, embarks on boat adventures, and navigates daunting challenges with the help of her late mother’s geology journals. Raised by two geologist parents, Opal “Red” Rogers is fully enlightened about plate tectonics, rocks, and anything geology related. When Red’s mother dies, she leaves her with some handwritten stories that relate geology lessons to human experiences.

After his wife’s death, Red’s father decides to move with his daughter to an old family fishing lodge on a Canadian island to restore it. As Red tries to fit in with her new environment, she participates in some seriously competitive events—including a boat race and a fishing competition—makes both friends and enemies, and consults her mother’s journal to deal with what life has in store for her. While working and socializing in the midst of rich, spoiled teenagers in a local hotel, Red must find a way to swim against the tumultuous currents that move against her or sink with the pressure.

I love this book! Halfway to Schist is one of those books that leave you with a bittersweet feeling and fill you with an inexplicable warmth after reading. I couldn’t get enough of the island atmosphere and the picturesque descriptions of the environment, including the “empty water and the empty woods” and the wet water weeds. Plus, I had an immersive, therapeutic experience as I imagined the paintings undertaken by the characters and read about the lessons the constant movements of different earth elements hold for humans. The book took me back to the time when I fell in love with geography back in school.

In this highly compelling narrative, Peter Bridgford skillfully weaves his story around some carefully selected themes that leave a lasting impression: water sports competitions, friendship, family, bullying, sexual assault, war, art, peer pressure, suicide, geology, loss, cancer, and more. The first-person viewpoint reveals the protagonist’s deepest thoughts regarding her interactions with the world around her.

Red’s exploits mirror a series of mistakes and lessons that many teenagers and older readers will be able to relate to. Geology enthusiasts will particularly love it. Prepare for some climactic and tension-filled events that make it hard to take a break from the book. Ultimately, Halfway to Schist is an adroit mix of different brilliant elements: teenage drama and rivalry, therapeutic sea and painting experiences, suspenseful developments, and deep geological and philosophical lessons. I would read another book by Peter Bridgford in a heartbeat as this one has successfully converted me into a fan!

Reviewed By:

Author Peter Bridgford
Star Count /5
Format eBook
Page Count 264 pages
Publisher Black Rose Writing
Publish Date 31-Mar-2022
ISBN 9781684339099
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue April 2022
Category Historical Fiction