Seeking a bond with her estranged cousin, a social media maven turns to nature to reconnect with herself.
Teen Instagram influencer Mari has felt lost since her cousin’s death. Bri was her best friend, her family, her everything. But as Mari rose to fame, the duo grew distant, and Bri’s sudden death—a hiking accident while preparing for the backpacking trip the two had always talked of taking—means they will never be able to repair their relationship. Tired of feeling inauthentic and performative, Mari publicly quits social media on what would have been their shared 18th birthday and, thanks to supplies from her aunt, takes Bri’s hiking gear and impulsively begins a trip along the John Muir Trail. Along the way she befriends a dynamic group of peers who instantly take her into their fold, providing the companionship—and, with one, romantic connection—that she sorely lacked in her previous life. Despite the physical pain of hiking with new boots, a full pack, and absolutely no training, Mari decides she’s ready—no, needs—to hike as far as her body will take her. Mari’s emotional journey is predictable and tidy, but her first-person narration is compelling and her determination, inspiring. The book follows a white default.
Mari’s story may not chart any new territory, but readers will be glad to have made the journey with her. (Fiction. 14-18)