4/5 Lost Stars
On The Back:
Ever since the night of the incident with Luke Willis, the preacher’s son, sophomore Hallelujah Calhoun has been silent. When the rumors swirled around school, she was silent. When her parents grounded her, she was silent. When her friends abandoned her … silent.
Now, six months later, on a youth group retreat in the Smoky Mountains, Hallie still can’t find a voice to answer the taunting. Shame and embarrassment haunt her, while Luke keeps coming up with new ways to humiliate her. Not even meeting Rachel, an outgoing newcomer who isn’t aware of her past, can pull Hallie out of her shell. Being on the defensive for so long has left her raw, and she doesn’t know who to trust.
On a group hike, the incessant bullying pushes Hallie to her limit. When Hallie, Rachel, and Hallie’s former friend Jonah get separated from the rest of the group, the situation quickly turns dire. Stranded in the wilderness, the three have no choice but to band together.
With past betrayals and harrowing obstacles in their way, Hallie fears they’ll never reach safety. Could speaking up about the night that changed everything close the distance between being lost and found? Or has she traveled too far to come back?
You know you’re hooked when you find yourself feeling angry and sad in the first few chapters of a book, and I was hooked by The Distance Between Lost and Found. Hallie is a bullied girl who has withdrawn inside of herself. She has no friends to speak of and is forced to go on a church youth trip with her tormentors, the biggest of which is Luke. But a new girl, Rachel, a former friend, Jonah, and Hallie all get separated from the group and are forced to forge their own way through the woods and fight to survive in the wilderness of the Smoky Mountains. This was an excellent debut YA novel and I really hope to hear more from this author.
I really liked Hallie, she was a relatable and heartbreaking character that anyone could find themselves pitying, at first, but then willing her to survive. Rachel was the quirky, sort of annoying, but irreplaceable friend that most people have, she pressed Hallie for the story of what really happened, and was the first person to really try and talk to Hallie. Jonah was the funny, mysterious person in the trio and throughout the story as you learn why he abandoned Hallie as a friend, it was heartbreaking, sad, and wonderful all at the same time.
This plot was really unique for this type of YA novel, slightly like Gary Paulsen’s Brian novels, but at the same time very different. I found myself cheering the teens on throughout the book, at the high points I smiled and felt like cheering out, but at the low points I willed them to survive.
However there was a few down points to this book, the major one, and really the only one worth mentioning, is Hallie’s attitude toward Jonah. There are only a few very small remarks about what she thinks of Jonah before Jonah tells her how he feels about her and why he stopped being her friend, and all of a sudden she loves him? I wish the author would’ve added a few more hints about how Hallie felt about Jonah before, instead of having no feelings, no feelings, boom, feelings.
Overall however a very good, very fast read. With amazing characters, a very good and interesting plotline, yet a few small down points, The Distance Between Lost and Found gets 4/5 stars. Recommend!