Blending elements of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak and Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet, this gripping story from Kathryn Holmes was deemed “a page turner” by author Richard Peck and “an intense story of survival” by ALA Booklist in its starred review.
Sophomore Hallie Calhoun has just endured the most excruciating six months of her life. Once the rumors about her and the preacher’s son, Luke, made their way around school, her friends abandoned her, and as a result, Hallie has completely withdrawn.
Now on a hiking trip in the Smoky Mountains with the same people who have relentlessly taunted her, Hallie is pushed to her limit. Then Hallie, outgoing newcomer Rachel, and Jonah—Hallie’s former friend—get separated from the rest of the group. As days go by without rescue, their struggle for survival turns deadly. Stranded in the wilderness, the three have no choice but to trust one another in order to stay alive…and for Hallie, that means opening up about what really happened that night with Luke.
From the catty atmosphere of high school to the unpredictable terrain of the mountains, this novel is a poignant, raw journey about finding yourself after having been lost for so long.
A youth group retreat turns into a test of physical and spiritual endurance for Hallelujah and two other teens. Tension is already brewing at the Hiking with Him camp before the three hikers get lost in the woods. Luke, the minister's son, has told a lie about Hallelujah, trashing her reputation and costing her friends. Hallelujah has a hard time trusting anyone now, even new acquaintance Rachel, who has made friendly overtures. After Rachel, Hallelujah, and her former friend Jonah are separated from the others in the Smoky Mountains, lies, snubs, and grudges pale in comparison to the immediate concern of not being able to find a way back to civilization. In this absorbing debut, Holmes as well versed in survival tactics as she is in the teenage psyche delivers plenty of excitement as her characters confront dehydration, starvation, and hypothermia, and nurse wounds caused by accidents off the trail. While eventful, the novel remains reflective in nature, showing Hallelujah's emotional growth as she considers the past, copes with the present, and bonds with her companions. Ages 13 up.