A girl decides to hike the Appalachian Trail on her own and meets a boy who may actually be living on the trail.
Almost 18, McKenna has been planning to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail with her best friend for the past year. When the friend drops out, McKenna lies to her parents and sets out on her own. On the trail she meets Sam, who has escaped from an abusive home and has been walking the trail, getting jobs in various towns, for months. McKenna greatly enjoys her adventure and only reluctantly becomes involved with Sam, but when she does, they become a couple, falling in love. Overconfident about their wilderness skills, they leave the trail despite warnings and soon realize that they have put their lives in danger. Gessner writes vividly of the trail and hiking, describing backpacking gear, birds, scenery, and many of the difficulties hikers encounter, along with the easy camaraderie hikers find along the AT. She brings McKenna and Sam to life as well-rounded characters, gradually building their relationship to a satisfying and realistic level. The star of the show here, however, is the Appalachian Trail and the adventures the teens experience on it.
Good romance, great wilderness. (Romance. 12-18)