Meika Hashimoto spins a nonstop extreme adventure in her coming-of-age novel.
Twelve-year-old Toby is hiking the Appalachian Trail, and he’s determined to complete his journey from Velvet Rocks to Katahdin alone—a promise he made to his best friend, Lucas, who is not so adventurous as Toby. But along his trek from New Hampshire to Maine, Toby finds himself among others instead of keeping to his solo mission, especially when a mangy old dog, Moose, shows up after Toby is rescued during a violent storm. Toby has no idea that his rescuers—two older teen hikers named Denver and Sean—will play critical roles in his life, and the last thing he expects on the trail is for Moose’s owner to show up.
Hashimoto punctuates her gripping novel with a flurry of facts and the sights and sounds of one of the most challenging aspects of the world’s longest hiking-only footpath. With this first-person narrative, Hashimoto will capture the attentions of middle grade readers, as Toby is not only riddled with internal struggles but also pushes himself to a near-impossible quest. Hashimoto surrounds her cast with wild animals as well as the mercurial yet hazardous weather conditions that are characteristic of the northern sector of the Appalachian Trail. While readers don’t have to be familiar with this aspect of the trail, it certainly helps and will only prove to enhance Toby’s many great outdoor encounters.
The Trail is perfect for extreme adventure enthusiasts.