Helen

Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis

Our protagonist, Ashley, is a wood lore enthusiast and, in particular, quite knowledgeable about her local area of the Smoky Mountains. We learn this en route to a site deep in the woods where she and her graduating classmates are having an overnight party. She thinks a bunch of teenagers drinking in the wilderness is a bad idea. Extraneous outsiders – including her boyfriend’s ex – make this bad idea worse.  Ashley drinks more than usual and goes to sleep feeling angry. During the night, she wakes, hears a familiar voice, and finds her boyfriend and his ex, together. Her first thought is to get away from him – and she runs – shoeless, into the darkness. She trips and takes a disorienting tumble. She decides to stay put before getting even more lost.

She wakes at noon, and realizes her foot is severely injured and that her friends have left. She imagines it could be two days before anyone notices she is missing. Her injury complicates her situation drastically, and Ashley eventually takes drastic action to survive. I was amazed by how varied and unpredictable her time in the woods was. She has some lapses, but mostly her resolve to survive and get out of the woods is calm and courageous. I think ANY reader will find this story fascinating.

Having read McGinnis’ books, The Female of the Species and Heroine, I started reading Be Not Far From Me with great anticipation. Happily, this is another outstanding, riveting book.

Young Adult Fiction Hardcover pr5181442

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