Thanks to his dad’s coaching, sixteen-year-old Tristan is one of the best climbers and trackers in his small town. He can read footprints and bushes like they’re security-camera footage, and fearlessly descend rock faces and waterfalls. But when his father disappears, leaving his mother too grief-stricken to function, the young canyoneer’s life goes into freefall. Left in the hands of a well-meaning but incompetent uncle and a space-cadet housekeeper, Tristan finds life a struggle no matter how hard he works. When he nears the end of his rope at home, the teen decides to set off into Swallow Canyon in search of his father ― only to realize that someone may be out to get him. Now the question is who’s stalking whom, and are Tristan’s skills up to the dangerous game playing out in the deep, shadowy canyon?
While I could have done without the mother's protracted grief, it was interesting to see Tristan try to be the adult in the house. He helps out with the business, cooks and cleans, and still tries to do well in school and go through his own grieving process. He is a motivated and realistic characters who faces adversity with grit and determination. I'd love to see more teen characters with those qualities. Tristan has every reason in the world to give up and let others care for him, but instead he powers through and ultimately saves the day.
With the emotional depth of Alden Carter's Walkaway and the Lawrence's The Skeleton Tree, Tracker's Canyon is a great addition to the back pack of any reader who craves details about how to jump into freezing water or make coffee over an open fire.