Wild meets Endless Love in this multilayered story of love, survival, and self-discovery.
McKenna Berney is a lucky girl. She has a loving family and has been accepted to college for the fall. But McKenna has a different goal in mind: much to the chagrin of her parents, she defers her college acceptance to hike the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia with her best friend. And when her friend backs out, McKenna is determined to go through with the dangerous trip on her own. While on the Trail, she meets Sam. Having skipped out on an abusive dad and quit school, Sam has found a brief respite on the Trail, where everyone’s a drifter, at least temporarily.
Despite lives headed in opposite directions, McKenna and Sam fall in love on an emotionally charged journey of dizzying highs and devastating lows. When their punch-drunk love leads them off the trail, McKenna has to persevere in a way she never thought possible to beat the odds or risk both their lives.
What did you do the summer after you graduated high school? I think I spent mine the way most upcoming college freshman do and went to parties, slept late, and lounged around the blissful idea that I was no longer a child. *smirk* I wish I’d read The Distance From Me to You back then. If I had a daughter now, I’d urge her to read it.
The simple and smooth writing style along with the strong characters and compelling story line made the pages easy to devour. It was like the perfect combination of all my favorite elements came together in this novel, and I couldn’t put it down until it was done.
I love strong female characters! McKenna’s youth is obvious in some of the choices she makes, but if you look at her situation from the perspective of eighteen-year-old eyes, would you really not make the same choices? When you’re that age, the dangers of the world don’t seem real. She second-guesses herself because everyone else seems to doubt her; she feels she has something to prove, but when the harsh reality of mortality comes crashing down on her, she realizes that she’s stronger all on her own than she ever thought possible.
I wasn’t sure how to feel about Sam. I think I liked him because of what he brought out in McKenna, and I definitely admired how far he’d come and the kindness he showed despite (or maybe because of) his abused childhood. He had his sweet moments, but he’s a runner. If anything came close to exposing the demons of his past, he either pushed it away by being a complete jerk or took off. It took a disaster, as it usually does, to make him see that he has a lot to learn, but he accepts this with grace, and I think that’s when he became a character I could love.
This story is nothing if not inspirational. It’s about a girl who takes on an incredibly hard task with little experience and absolutely no real idea of what to expect and comes out the other end a woman. It’s a journey of self-discovery, and what I loved most is that McKenna realizes how young she is, how much life she has before her, and doesn’t allow her love for a boy alter her choices or the things she wants for herself. She keeps going, and, as a result, comes to know exactly who she is.
I give this book five out of five stars. Read it!