Monday, November 09, 2020

YA Survival Novel Tense and Unflinching

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Ashley Hawkins' single father doesn't have the money to provide her with much more than her basic needs, but he did teach her how to survive in the Tennessee wilderness.  She's perfectly at home in the Smoky Mountains, more comfortable there than inside the walls of her drama-filled high school. So, when she catches her boyfriend making out with another girl while they're all on a group campout, she takes off in a fit of anger, seeking solace among the trees that have always cocooned her.  In her drunken rage, she wanders farther than she intended and injures herself.  When she wakes, Ashley's shocked to realize she's lost and alone.  She's not expected home for a couple of days.  Barely able to walk, she's got no supplies and no choice—she has to get out of the forest.  Battling infection, fatigue, hunger, thirst, wild animals, and more, Ashley's in for the fight of her life.

Be Not Far From Me is another raw, gritty tale from YA veteran Mindy McGinnis.  She pulls no punches in this survival tale, so be prepared.  It's brutal and unflinching.  Ashley is the perfect heroine for this story.  She's smart, tough, and determined.  Her vulnerability, though, is what makes her authentic and relatable.  It's impossibly not to root for her success, even as it becomes less and less likely.  While Be Not Far From Me is a intense, straightforward survival story, it does offer some interesting ruminations on how the things (nature) and people (family and friends) we love can both shelter and harm us.  I've enjoyed all of McGinnis' books; this one is no exception.  If you enjoy stark survival tales, you're going to love Be Not Far From Me.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other YA and MG survival stories like The Canyon's Edge by Dusti Bowling, I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice MarshallWhen We Were Lost by Kevin Wignall, The Wild Lands by Paul Greci, etc.)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language, violence, blood/gore, and depictions of underage drinking and illegal drug use (marijuana)

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

4 comments:

  1. This sounds great, especially as I've been through the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee so I would have some idea of what it looks like. Also like the sound of your the books it reminds you of. I see I have some investigating to do. :-)

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  2. I do love straight-up survival stories. This is one I definitely want to read! :)

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  3. McGinnis' books are too dark for me, but I understand the draw for some readers.

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  4. I liked McGinnis' Heroine and this one looks good too. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

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