Welcome to the Slipstream by Natalka Burian
Bright lights, big trouble
Fans of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak and Judy Gregerson’s Bad Girls Club will relate to this story about a girl traumatized by her brilliant mother’s serious mental illness
Like a grown-up Eloise from the picture book, the main character, Van, lives in an upscale casino in glitzy Las Vegas, giving readers entree into a crazy world that few ever get to see
Based on real life events witnessed by the author, a harrowing look at the dangers of self-help cults that promise insight and instead deliver destruction
With her mother, a brilliant businesswoman with fragile mental health, Van arrives in Las Vegas at the Silver Saddle casino, where Alex, a college student, is assigned to “babysit” her. Van is used to having to land on her feet, because her mother and her surrogate grandmother move from city to city all the time like corporate gypsies, but Alex introduces Van, a talented musician, to a group where her guitar skills may shine. But just as she’s about to play her first gig, her mother is lured in by a con man promising a “vision quest” in Arizona, and Van must go on the road to find and save her mom.
The release date of Welcome to the Slipstream is June 6th, 2017
I received this book for review on NetGalley. The synopsis immediately captured my attention. I am a huge fan of books that deal with mental illness. The whole world of psychology is intriguing for me. So, I thought that this combined with a Las Vegas version of Eloise in the Plaza sounded perfect. I wasn’t as big of a fan of this book as I hoped.
To be fair to this book I think I came into it with far higher expectations than I should have. I try to come in with no expectations and not being able to do that really hurt my experience with this book.
The beginning of Welcome to the Slipstream was wonderful. I was intrigued and found myself flying through the pages. Van was a character that I really loved. She was different from a lot of other contemporary main characters. Van is a girl who is sheltered yet strong. Looking through Van’s perspective was fun and refreshing.
Another aspect I loved in this book was Ida. Oh my goodness Ida was a spitfire. Van’s caretaker truly stole the show in my eyes. Her relationships with both Van and Sofia were endearing and honest. I could have read an entire book just about Ida and her life. Seriously, I loved her that much.
Unfortunately, this book had some things I did not enjoy in it. To be honest, I was not bothered by aspects of the book until the end. That’s when the strange cult aspect came into play and I really got lost. Now, I love stories about cults. Honestly, I do. Just ask Eden or Caitlynn. But, the development of the group felt very forced and convoluted. I really wish this aspect had been omitted.
Were it not for the ending I would have rated this book higher than three stars. It was a great contemporary read. There was a great deal of emotion yet the pacing was fast and easy to get through. I would like to see more from Natalka Burian since I really enjoyed her writing style.
What are some topics you can’t resist reading about?