The Distance Between Lost and Found

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Publisher
Age Range
14+
Release Date
February 17, 2015
ISBN
0062317261
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Blending elements of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak and Gary Paulsen's Hatchet, debut novelist Kathryn Holmes delivers a gripping story that author Richard Peck calls a "page-turner about several kinds of survival." 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her and the preacher's son, Luke, made their way around school, her friends abandoned her, and Hallie has completely withdrawn. Now, on a hike 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.

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An Unforgettable Journey
Overall rating
 
5.0
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5.0
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5.0
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5.0
From page one, The Distance Between Lost and Found, consumed me and didn’t let go. It is more than a survival story. It's about a girl's struggle to find courage and confidence. She loses her way and gets lost in the wilderness, and with the help of two other campers learns how to survive. Real and unforgettable, Hallie and her companions take a journey of discovery that they will remember for the rest of their lives.

The Distance Between Lost and Found takes on several heavy subjects such as bullying. Kathryn Holmes does a fantastic job handling very real and traumatic experiences in a sensitive manner. She does a fantastic job developing the character of Hallie. As readers, we go on the journey of discovery with Hallie. We don’t truly know the whole story until Hallie is ready to reveal the truth- not only to her friends but herself as well. Watching Hallie evolve and change throughout the story is both overwhelming and inspiring. Must like real life.

What I liked best about The Distance between Lost and Found in how th setting also plays a major part in the novel. The cast of human characters is small, but the wilderness itself holds it own. Holmes vividly describes the Smoky Mountains and every natural element. The reader is easily immersed in sound, smell, taste, touch, and color.

Each character in the story; Hallie, Jonah, and play an integral role in the story and its development. Hallie isn’t the only one on a journey. They need each other, their strengths and weaknesses, in order to survive. The characters feel real and easy to connect to.

Although this book centers on incidents that occurred during a religious youth retreat, the book doesn’t preach any particular beliefs.
Hallie, Jonah, and Rachel do talk about God and whether they believed in Him. But this topic arises naturally when the characters are struggling to survive and start to share more about their backgrounds.

The Distance Between Lost and Found focuses on survival, friendship, faith and trust. Bullying continues to be a major issue of concern and the way Hallie handles the incident is realistic. But most importantly, Kathryn Holmes shows how bullying can impact a person and how everyone involved can survive.


Beautifully written and artfully crafted characters make The Distance Between Lost and Found a book that this reader just couldn’t put down.
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A nice surprise
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4.0
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4.0
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4.0
Hallelujah is good at being silent. She’s been silent since the night of the incident with Luke Willis, the preacher’s son, even though her silence meant no one ever heard her side of the story. She was silent at school, silent at home, just silent. Months later, at a youth group retreat, Luke is still making Hallie’s life miserable and not even meeting Rachel, a girl who doesn’t know her past and seems to want to be friends, can help. Finally, Hallie can’t take anymore and it leads to her, Rachel, and a former friend, Jonah, getting lost in the woods during a group hike. There’s no choice but to work together and hopefully save themselves.

This book ended up being a pleasant surprise for me. I can’t remember the last time I was so angry in defense of a character so quickly, but it only took a page for me to want to scream at Luke. I felt for Hallie, I wanted to protect her, I wanted someone to expose Luke as a bully. All in the first chapter.

Hallie, for me, was a very memorable character. She wasn’t perfect, she could be frustratingly passive, she pushed people away, she really didn’t believe in her own voice at all. Watching her being forced to learn to trust herself and others throughout the book made for a great growth arc. The book was a survival story about three teens lost in the woods but is was just as much a story about Hallie discovering who was worth being trusted, forgiven, and accepted.

Out of the other two teens, I enjoyed Rachel a bit more than Jonah. Mostly because Rachel was very expressive with her emotions, she really didn’t keep much to herself and she was determined not to give up on Hallie just because she kept getting pushed away. Jonah, I didn’t want to like with him being a part of Luke’s group and knowing he’d turned away from Hallie after the incident, but I could also understand him. He made a bad call with only knowing one side of the story and the other side wasn’t being told. He was human. He really grew on me.

The survival aspect of the book was a little terrifying. As much as I’d like to think three teens would never be so naive to break away from the group or that the counselors would put the kids in a situation where it was possible, it does happen. The fact that it was a day hike meant none of them were prepared to spend the night in the woods and bad weather made things treacherous. No food, no shelter, knowing there was no medical supplies. It made for a lot of tension.

There was a bit of religious discussion. They were at a church youth group retreat. I found myself enjoying it. It wasn’t preachy, it wasn’t making fun, it wasn’t condemning. It was honest and questioning and I thought it was very believable that it would be happening.

The pacing was great. Characters being lost in the woods might not seem like a page-turner but there was so much happening. The character growth and the reveal of Hallie’s back story with Luke were done in a way so they lasted through most of the book. I never found it dull or slow.
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