The world is not tame, and neither are people.
Make no mistake, this book is not for the faint of heart.
Be Not Far From Me is the product of what I assume would be the soul-searching, challenging, and outdoorsy lovechild of Hatchet, Wild, and 27 Hours. Within the pages of her book, Mindy McGinnis has completed a near impossible task: She’s written a survival story that is neither boring nor belittling of the everyday trauma we face. It’s gory, and it’s angry. It’s desperate in a way that’s meant to expose the darkest bits of ourselves we hide from the world. From the very beginning, I was sucked into Ashley’s life like it was my own, relating to the way she reflected on her past mistakes while also realizing what she wants for her future. I cringed when she remembered the hurtful words that she threw at the people she loved and absolutely rejoiced when she saw moments of redemption. I was inspired by Ashley’s whole-hearted decision to survive and to fight with everything she had against the voice in her mind telling her that death would be easier.
I was born with hair and nails and teeth, and all of those were made for hanging on.
After catching her boyfriend with another girl, Ashely runs into the woods she’s spent her entire life exploring. Blinded by alcohol, anger, and pain, Ashley runs as fast and as far away from the camp as her feet will carry her. She doesn’t see the small dip in the ground or the dark boulder in front of her, and she certainly can’t stop it from flattening her foot into a beer-soaked pancake. Just like that, one drunken mistake turns into a debilitating injury and a horrifying realization: Ashley is alone in the woods — her woods — and no one is coming to save her.
Reading this book is like sewing yourself into the seams of another person’s story. I will be honest, there were more than a few times when the suspense was too much for me, and I wished I could rip those seams CLEAN OPEN.
Friends, I’m so glad I stayed with Ashely to the end; her story is undoubtably worth the fear I felt for her situation.
If you enjoyed Hatchet, The Wilder Girls, or The Grace Year you will love this book! If you enjoy listening to books, I can’t recommend this audiobook highly enough — the narrator’s voice cracks, then completely breaks as Ashley’s situation worsens. Listen on LIBRO.fm!
Harsh Language: The group of teens we first meet in the woods use some colorful language, as does Ashely when she finds herself stranded in the woods and bleeding like the dickens. While I can’t really blame her, I’d save this story for readers 14+
Physical Injury: Ashley’s injuries are intense and painful, and McGinnis spares no details from readers. If you’re overly squeamish, there are a several descriptions you will want to gloss over.
Recommended Age: 14+ due to harsh language and graphic descriptions of injuries.