Author: Kathryn Holmes
My rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Last year we all here in Russia were shocked by tragedy happened in the Irkutsk region. Three teenagers who lived in the rural area got lost in the forest. That day after school they decided not to wait for the bus but to go home on foot. Next morning one was found dead and two others were taken to the intensive care unit with severe frostbite. I forgot to mention that it was winter and temperature was about – 30 °C (-22.0 °F). So when I started The Distance Between Lost and Found I was acutely aware that this could happen in real life. People make stupid choices and get lost in the forest and die.
Oh, well, back to the book. Main character Hallelujah (Hallie) is a pariah in her school. She is constantly bullied and subjected to ridicule by classmates. Their leader is Luke, the preacher’s son. We don’t know why she is in this situation. The book starts with Hallie coming on a youth group retreat in the Smoky Mountains. This part is only a short introduction to the main story, but the author made a great job picturing this situation. I felt Hallie’s humiliation, her anger, her fear to open up. The only person who is willing to speak with Hallie and show her kindness is Rachel, new girl from the different area, who knows nothing about Hallie’s past.
The main story however begins when Hallie, Rachel and Jonah (Hallie’s ex-friend) after one bad decision are lost in the forest.
The Distance Between Lost and Found is a survival story. Hallelujah, Jonah and Rachel had a lot to overcome: thirst, hunger, exhaustion, cold, injuries, and storm. It felt real to me (especially because of the tragedy I’ve mentioned earlier). But also it is a Hallelujah’s story of self-discovery, of finding her voice figuratively and literally.
As the story progressed we are given information piece by little piece about what happened to Hallie. It’s emotional and heartbreaking story. Through the course of the book Hallie became stronger, she opened up to Rachel and Jonah and it’s wonderful to witness changes in her.
I tend to avoid religious books. If I knew about this aspect of the book I would probably skip it. I’m so glad I didn’t. I never felt like I was preached. Even the name Hallelujah made sense. For me the message was: you need to believe in yourself in the first place. You are much stronger then you think you are. Sometimes a person needs to be put in extreme circumstances to understand what’s important and what’s not, that it is your choice to be silent or not and finally find strength to speak up, to fight back.
There is a hint of a romance in this book. But don’t expect much, the characters have more serious things on their agenda, like survival. The romance gives us hope that everything can be different, can be ok.
All in all The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes is a good book which raises a number of important topics.