Book Review: A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti
Book Review: Eternal Life by Dara Horn

Book Review: The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby

Ever since I read Wild by Cheryl Strayed, I’ve had fantasies about through hiking a long trail. (I am 100% sure that I am not alone in this idea. In fact, I’m certain that many people HAVE attempted the Pacific Crest Trail since that book’s publication and especially since the movie, which, by the way, I didn’t see. I am less and less willing to see the movie version of books I love.)

Let’s face it: I will likely never be able to do the whole Appalachian Trail or all of the PCT. But I’ve continued to fantasize about through hiking the John Muir trail. It’s much more approachable, at about 220 miles. Doable in a month.

(I read about it a lot. Next to a chartered hike in the Alps it’s my favorite hiking desire.)

Other side of lostSo I had to read The Other Side of Lost, which is a young adult novel about a girl who hikes the John Muir trail.

Let’s just start with my objection: I don’t care how young you are. No one should attempt to backpack 200+ miles without first training for it. I really had to suspend my disbelief that the main character, Mari Turner, can just, you know. Decide one day to hike that far (carrying a backpack that likely weighs 30-50 pounds) after only doing some yoga every once in a while, and her only problem is sore muscles and some blisters. All while wearing boots that someone else has broken in. That’s just not how hiking works.

But I went with it because I wanted to hit the trail with her.

She decides so abruptly to hike the Muir Trail because her cousin—who was once her best friend—had planned on hiking it, but then she was killed while doing a training hike (as one does for long hikes. OK, I’ll stop). On the same day as her cousin’s birthday, Mari, who’s somewhat of an Instagram star, realizes that her online life is a sham. When her aunt sends her the pack and boots her cousin had prepared for her JMT thru-hike, Mari posts a teary farewell video and then hits the trail.

I liked quite a bit of this book, those non-realistic hiking approaches aside. Mostly what I liked was watching Mari change as she hiked. She learns how to be a hiker, the rhythm of a trail. And she gets to see so many parts of the trail that I would like to also see. (In other words, it fed, rather than squashed, my desire to also hike the JMT; how would I change?)

I also really liked the relationship development that happens in the story. There's a little bit of romance, but not much. In a sense, the relationship that develops is the one Mari has with her cousin, even though she isn't exactly there. She left a trail journal, though, and its existence is sort of like her presence being there. The ending felt a little bit rushed, but overall, I enjoyed this YA novel.



I always enjoy your reviews--thanks.

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