Friday, February 7, 2020

REVIEW: Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis

Title: Be Not Far From Me
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Genre: Young Adult - Contemporary
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Acquired: E-galley approved via Edelweiss
Goodreads: ADD

Hatchet meets Wild in this harrowing survival story from Edgar Award-winning author Mindy McGinnis.

The world is not tame.

Ashley knows this truth deep in her bones, more at home with trees overhead than a roof. So when she goes hiking in the Smokies with her friends for a night of partying, the falling dark and creaking trees are second nature to her. But people are not tame either. And when Ashley catches her boyfriend with another girl, drunken rage sends her running into the night, stopped only by a nasty fall into a ravine. Morning brings the realization that she's alone - and far off trail. Lost in undisturbed forest and with nothing but the clothes on her back, Ashley must figure out how to survive despite the red streak of infection creeping up her leg.




It's a learned skill, as an avid reader of 400+ page books, to begin to appreciate the shorter reads in life, especially when they're as intensely descriptive and gripping as Be Not Far From Me was. At a mere 240 pages, this survival story was a (very) graphic depiction of a heartache-fueled decision gone horribly wrong.

After catching her boyfriend 'reintroducing' himself to his ex-girlfriend on a night of drunken merriment with friends, an intoxicated (and barefoot) Ashley hightails it deep into the woods, picking up a pretty nasty injury along the way. She awakes the next morning to an infected left-foot that's skinned down to the exposed bone, and clouded confidence in her survival skills to get her out of a never-ending maze of trees. "No time" ends up being the length of the novel, and it is here that we find our story, and some truly cringe-worthy choices.

This was my first Mcginnis book to date, a fact that both upset and thrilled me. Upset, because I hadn't picked up her works sooner, and thrilled, because YAY! a new author whose novels I can binge. Mindy's writing is atmospheric and blunt in it's specificity, which worked so well in combination. I felt the density of wilderness, the moments of torrential rain and the unforgiving sun. And when Ashley was faced with literal life or death situations, there were no words wasted on build-up or time spend considering options, it was do or die, now or NEVER. 

I removed a star for the conclusion. There wasn't enough animosity towards deserving parties, and I felt like it was lacking genuine reactions to events that warranted more than just a few shocked words.

If you're looking a quick, gut-punching read, Be Not Far from Me will quench that reading thirst.




Read if you like:  
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

Key themes: 
loss, betrayal, survival, self-reflection

Challenges: 





credit: goodreads.com (author page)


Mindy McGinnis is the author of multiple novels that span many genres. From historical to fantasy, contemporary to gothic thriller, you can always count on Mindy’s books to deliver grit, truth, and an unflinching look at humanity and the world around us.

A ninth-generation farmer, Mindy attributes much of her character to growing up on an Ohio farm, learning the value of physical labor, and the harshness of the natural world early in life. Much of her writing reflects small-town living and aspects of rural poverty. A former school librarian, Mindy still lives and works in her hometown, and is dedicated to making herself available to financially disadvantaged school districts and communities. Click here to contact Mindy about a visit.

Mindy has done multiple interviews and guest posts over the years, and has been featured on such outlets as NPR and PBS. She’s also been a guest on a myriad of podcasts, blogs, and websites, many of which can be viewed below.


CONTACT LINKS 



A huge thank-you to Katherine Tegan Books and Edelwiess for approving an e-galley for review

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