TRAIN I RIDE for Marvelous Middle Grade EXTRA

Here is another heartbreaking, but eventually hopeful tale of a young girl. This time we trainiridehave Rydr, who turns 13 part way through her ride from Palm Springs to Chicago on an Amtrak train. Her life has been full of disappointment and sadness. The train ride is exactly what she needs to bring new purpose and direction to a world she doesn’t understand

The bad parts of Rydr’s past are woven into the present. There are even many humorous moments as she gets to know a scout troop and Neal, the snack bar attendant. I’d reserve this one for sixth grade and up with the many deep issues portrayed. Girls who are experiencing loss of family and home would best benefit from the beautiful writing put forth here.


FULL PLOT (From AMAZON)  Rydr is on a train heading east, leaving California, where her gramma can’t take care of her anymore, and traveling to Chicago, to live with an unknown relative. She brings with her a backpack, memories both happy and sad, and a box, containing something very important.

As Rydr meets her fellow passengers and learns their stories, her own story begins to emerge. It’s one of sadness and heartache, and one Rydr would sometimes like to forget. But as much as Rydr may want to run away from her past, on the train she finds that hope and forgiveness are all around her, and most importantly, within her, if she’s willing to look for it.

  1. A perfect setting on this train. It has all the elements of an Amtrak ride: interesting stories from passengers, the food, and yes, the delays. It reminded me of a few trips I’ve taken on the tracks.
  2. Dorothea serves as Rydr’s guardian while on the train. You might be able to pick her out on the cover. All I can say is give this woman a raise. She goes out of her way to help young Rydr.
  3. Girls these days seem to be getting derailed more and more and books like this one can help them see that they are not alone in their fight for a meaningful life.
  4. Neal, the snack stand attendant, also changes thanks to his friendship with Rydr. Their interactions were some of my favorite.
  5. The scout she befriends, nicknamed Tenderchunks by his troop, is the boy Rydr needs. His compassion and thoughtfulness is something many boys could learn from.

FAVORITE LINES“You guys need all the help you can get, I suppose. And you need to allow girls into your little club. You’ve got too much testosterone.”

“I agree.”

I pause and look at him surprised. “You do?”

“Yeah.” He looks at me like he’s stating the obvious. “It’s like all the boys are cruel and they’re pretending to be virtuous. But I feel like I’m gonna get beat up at any moment.”


“In the ’90s, I would write short stories and send them to literary publications that would pay you in copies, but I never felt like my head was organized enough to manage a novel, because I have a sort of random way about me,” he says. “I don’t know what’s going to come out of my mouth next.”


Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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2 Responses to TRAIN I RIDE for Marvelous Middle Grade EXTRA

  1. I love the MC name, Ryder. Perfect for her train ride across the country — an unusual setting for a story, but important to this one. Sounds like a book kids could get lost in and have fun! Great pick!

  2. Anything with a train ride will capture my interest. Taking a cross-country train trip is high on my bucket list. One of these days… I like the sound of this book and will put it on my TBR list. Thanks for the post.

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