Experienced child actress Marissa Gould is looking forward to spending the summer before her senior year of high school at UCLA’s musical theater program in hopes of entering the drama school there as a college freshman. Instead, she is jolted awake one morning by strangers who drag her off to a wilderness character development camp for troubled teens. Until now, Marissa thought she shared an open relationship with her parents. At the wilderness camp, Marissa endures exhausting hikes through rural upstate New York with an overloaded pack, festering insect bites, and inadequate food. Her counselors have no psychology training, and instead dish depravation and humiliation using sleep control, food control, and extreme physical-endurance challenges to change her behavior. The result? She is soon saddled with something she has never had to deal with before – chronic depression. What will happen when she graduates? Will her life ever be normal again? This is the true story of Marissa Gould’s experience at Adirondack Leadership Expedition.
Whitney Smith - I received my order right away and haven’t been able to put the book down! Author Marissa Gould does a terrific job telling this harrowing adolescent story. Candid and raw, Marissa writes beautifully her personal account of her journey in the wilderness. The damaging aspects of being subjected to these kinds of programs is transparent and I could resonate with how she feels throughout this undeserved suffering. She is relatable in both her resilient and her vulnerable moments and I feel transported to the time and the place of the ordeal. It is important to shed light on this kind of abuse that exists but is often not talked about. It is a lesson for parents, educators, and people of all ages alike.
Allyn Mitchell - A story that is truly a motivation and inspiring. Gives you a sense of fear for this teenage girl and an awareness of the effects of programs out there that can cause emotional issues for the children in them ! Well written !
Mallory Smith - This was a wonderful expose on what really happens in these programs. I feel like this topic has not been written about much and is a topic that needs to be explored. I feel for Marissa and her struggles in this book. Hopefully this book can bring to light to truth behind these institutions and help others. It was a wonderful read and would recommend this to all.
Bought this book without knowing too much about the writer or their wilderness journey – am I glad I did! What a harrowing experience beautifully told in a riveting tale. I was so gripped, I devoured this inside three days. My heart not only goes out to the writer, Marissa, and all she suffered and went through on a shocking, unforgivable period in her life, but no matter what obstacles and hurdles were in her way (physical or emotional), she continued to overcome them all. Through great, captivating storytelling, we not only feel everything she endured, but have our eyes opened in the process. Cannot recommend this book enough. If you're here, don't hesitate, buy! You'll be so grateful you did. Hope there's a sequel in the mix, because this book, her story, deserves one. 5-stars all the way!