REVIEW: Welcome to the Slipstream by Natalka Burian


“We were a frail, spare ecosystem, and I didn’t want to think about what would happen if one of us disappeared.”

Aside from romance, I love reading YA fiction, especially anything that falls into the contemporary YA realm. Add in a mention of a cult, and I’m hooked. I don’t know what it is about cults and the mystery surrounding them, but I’ve always been fascinated with learning about the cultural aspects of them. While it deeply saddens me to learn about the often violent backgrounds of the cult mentality, it also intrigues me.  So when I was approached about reading Welcome to the Slipstream and I skimmed the synopsis and saw mention of a cult, I was thrilled to be able to read it.

Welcome to the Slipstream is told from the point of view of Van Lowell. Van is seventeen, and has spent the majority of her life chasing after her mother from one location to the next. At the beginning of the story Van, her mother Sofia, and her nanny Ida are on a plane headed toward the Silver Saddle Casino in Las Vegas.  Running from one job to another, Sofia is controlled by her own mental illness.  Often times appearing eccentric, Sofia has a brilliant mind but is easily influenced by things around her. Ida and Van have worked together to help keep Sofia stable, but even their influence can’t protect her from the demons lurking in her head.

As Van settles into life at the Silver Saddle, she begins to feel more at home than she has anywhere else in her life. She begins to develop friendships, albeit tentative, and soon finds herself as a guitarist with a local band. But as Van’s life begins to grow, Sofia finds herself trapped within the confines of a cult. Van must decide if she wants to stay in Vegas, or once again rescue her mother from not only the demons that ail her, but outside forces as well. What results is a fast paced, coming of age story that will keep any YA reader entertained.

Burian’s writing is hypnotic, encompassing you within the pages of the story.  She includes bits of humor early on, often focused on Ida to lighten a much darker story line. The burgeoning relationship between Alex, the intern studying hotel management, and Van provides just a slight touch of romance to a story already laden with heavier notes of despair.  This bit of lightness kept the story from being burdened with a depressive air.  Furthermore, Welcome to the Slipstream move swiftly, always keeping the reader fully engaged in the story. This smooth flowing storyline sets a good pace for the reader, keeping them from becoming bogged down by too many details. All in all, Welcome to the Slipstream is a stunning YA debut.  I am so thankful to Smith Publicity for reaching out to me to review. Otherwise I’m not sure if I ever would have found this gem of a story!


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