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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Distance from Me to You

Finally, I read a book from my TBR pile! If you didn't know it yet, there's a new page on my blog that has all the books left on my TBR pile, I think there still a lot left but we'll manage. And today one of those books on my to be read list has disappeared: The Distance from Me to You by Marina Gessner

McKenna is sick of following the rules, after high school she's determined to do what her father has done when he was this young: do a hike. And not just any hike but a 2000 miles hikes from Maine to Georgia, together with her friend Courtney. Yet when Courtney cancels on the plans, McKenna is determined to go through with the plan and hike all miles and get that certificate at the end of it. With a friend or alone, she'll make it. Lying to her parents, McKenna leaves her town. Starting the trail she's surprised with who she finds walking alongside her...

This book was so much better than I had anticipated. From characters to plot, this was a great read! First of all, the main character McKenna was such a surprise that I can't express how happy I feel about her. She's been following strict rules all her life and for once she wants to set lose and be free in nature. The fact that her friend, Courtney cancels on the plans, shows how determined McKenna is to make this hike. Her determination is something to really admire because nobody was very trusting they'd be able to do it, let alone her by herself.

Of course this determination shakes up a few lies to her parents who think she IS really taking the trail with her best friend. I never thought she'd lie really but that shows again how much she wants this. Her determination is really something to admire because throughout the story everyone is going to say she can't do it. Many men she comes across also say she can't because she's a woman. Even women think she can't do it. That said, this character will show you how far you can get if you just want it badly enough. This was something a lot of readers will appreciate in this character: her drive to do what she wants in life.

That said, McKenna is a very strong woman that will inspire a lot of the readers and also motivate a lot of the readers. It's really fantastic to see a character like her starring in this adventure!

But this story is not only about McKenna, it's also about Sam. The guy that was also so much more different that I had expected! First off, the book is written in all-knowing narrator and that makes sure that the readers already know more about Sam than McKenna. I'm normally not a fan of the "all-knowing narrator" but this time I really loved that. Why? Simply because we knew more about Sam and McKenna didn't. It showed us her first impression on him and how it evolved from there to the opinion we had or hadn't about Sam. It's really a nice thing to see how she thinks about him without knowing everything and to see if what she'll eventually think adds to what we think or not.

Now about Sam, he's having a very difficult life. As handsome as he may be, many people will be mislead by him because of his looks. Yet this character goes so much deeper than his looks and since we already knew that from the beginning it's very interesting to see it from his point of view and others. What I often noticed with Sam was that he was hot and cold and we never really knew the reason behind it, all of a sudden he's angry and the only remaining question was why? I think that's the little negative point I have to give to the characters. Other than that I really loved to see them evolve and grow towards each other!

Speaking of evolving, these characters will go through such a change, it's very surprising. Each of them goes onto the trail with an expectation about how they should change and who they want to become afterwards. It's really nice to see them fantasize about that and then see if they find out if that's really who they want to be and if so, if they change in that way. The change they go through is very visible at the end and really made me an emotional reader (which I know happens very often, but still... I was impressed!)

Now the plot, it's so simplistic and so adventurous but it's fed with so much that it just makes you adore it from the start. I mean, I know some will think what can this book really do, it's just walking trails. But it's not, this book really pulled me in and made me long for a trail like this and for the adventure. For me to be close with nature and be as determined as McKenna and walk 2000 miles, talking about characters giving inspiration!

Of course there's more to that than what we all thought first! There's the trail magic and the walking rhythm, there's the different trails with another name and different difficulties. There the crossing the rivers while hauling a pack that weighs your own body weight. The dangers of nature, the setting up camp and the miles they have walked. This really is more than just walking! I really felt pulled into this story as if I was part of it myself. The author really takes time to build a story around it and to make the surroundings and the noises visible for the reader which I really appreciated!

Another thing I was really keen on was that Sam and McKenna accidentally met and then started crossing paths more and more often on the trail. McKenna wanted to show Sam as well that she could do it, Sam wanted to stay close to her because he was worried something might happen. And all of this makes sure they cross paths multiple times and sometimes on the most needed moments. I really was happy to see this constant process of seeing each other and leaving each other because it was just adorable.

Adorable because both lived another life. While McKenna has everything she needs, Sam hasn't. Both will help each other out, McKenna will share food when he has nothing, and Sam will show McKenna what other ways there are in nature or by working a day or two to get food or some money. They really learned each other to help out in different ways, be kind to one another, see the differences and accept them and also to be brave and hopeful.

Brave and hopeful being the most important in what I'm about to say next. For everyone who thought this book can't get any suspense or thrill, it does have it! For the longest period they've followed the rules and both of them are getting sick of it. Following the trail are the rules and now they decided it was time to change direction. Of course this will bring a whole new level of living in wilderness and soon they both find out this wasn't a very good idea. I don't want to talk about this too deeply because I was so surprised and apprehensive at the same time that this part in the book will stay with me the most. It's a really nice experience to feel, from being safe the entire time and then not being safe at all. The characters will have to be brave and hopeful and the reader will really be feeling everything they go through to the core!

Lastly, I really want to point out something I really loved about the hike we made with the characters: the myths. Sam's mother told him so many myths and stories when he was little and they were camping and he's sharing them with McKenna. For the reader this will also be something great to look forward to because it gives us more food for imagination and our fantasies to totally explode and explore! A great asset to the book, in my opinion, because I really enjoyed these on our time exploring nature together with the characters.

If there's something I could add to the book then it'd be maps. Although these trails are fiction, I would really have loved a map to indicate where they were at the same time or where they were when they were apart. I really thought that could be a nice addition to the plot, however I'm not complaining! A little negative point about the plot was the all-knowing narrator, although I was a fan of it a few times during the read I was confused with about who we were talking. This was when they were walking together because then both thoughts would be combined in the chapter, at the same time. I sometimes was confused by who was thinking what but overall this book was really great, simplistic but amazing!
Waw to this book! I never thought I'd enjoy something so simplistic but so deep in the end. The characters are astonishingly written and undergo each a change I never expected to see. The plot is so adventurous and so simplistic that it amazed me how much I really enjoyed it. The thought of being out there, in nature with the birds singing, has never seemed so beautiful and really makes me longing to an adventure as this! The story will really pull you in and if you think the plot won't get thrilling because it's just walking, you better take those words right back. The plot is in for some danger and suspense, along with an emotional ending I never thought this writer would make us go through. I really recommend this book to adventurous people and people who want something new.

"The two of them climbing up and down mountains together."

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