Book Review: A Prayer for Travelers by Ruchika Tomar

Why should you read this book?

Two marginalized young women: Cale and Penny. Violence. Nevada’s northern desert. These are the crucial ingredients of A Prayer for Travelers by Ruchika Tomar. In this debut novel, Penny suddenly disappears and Cale sets off on a dangerous quest across the desert to find her friend.

I really enjoyed this novel. The chapters are displayed in no particular order but I think that gave rhythm and strengthen the book. I also think Ruchika Tomar built an impressive and captivating world. It’s gritty, violent and mysterious. While I was reading this book, I kept picturing the vibrant scenes in my head. The friendship between Cale and Penny was also developed/written beautifully and free of any cliches.

I don’t think this is a book that will appeal to everyone because of certain topics and the style itself. This isn’t an easy or quick read. But if you enjoy books that delve into the complexities of human relationships and the strangeness of the world and life itself, you should give it a go!

I’d like to thank Riverhead Books for sending a review copy. You can buy the book here.



Cale Lambert, a bookish loner of mysterious parentage, lives in a dusty town near the California-Nevada border, a place where coyotes scavenge for backyard dogs and long-haul truckers scavenge for pills and girls. Cale was raised by her grandfather in a loving, if codependent, household, but as soon as she’s left high school his health begins an agonizing decline. Set adrift for the first time, Cale starts waitressing at the local diner, where she reconnects with Penélope Reyes, a charismatic former classmate running mysterious side-hustles to fund her dreams. Penny exposes Cale to the reality that exists beyond their small town, and the girls become inseparable—-until one terrifying act of violence shatters their world. When Penny vanishes without a trace, Cale must set off on a dangerous quest across the desert to find her friend, and discover herself. An audacious debut, told in deftly interwoven chapters, A Prayer for Travelers explores the complicated legacy of the American West and the trauma of female experience.

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Book Details:
Publisher: Riverhead Books (Penguin Random House)
Published on: July 2019
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 320



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