Just Keep Walking

Scholastic. Mar. 2024. 256p. Tr $26.99. ISBN 9781338851304.
Gr 4 Up–After her dad bails on their long-awaited father/daughter hike to be with his new family, Jo decides that she and her mother will hike longer and farther than her dad and brother did years before, to prove to him (and themselves) that they don’t need him anymore. Out of spite, she plots a 111-mile trek through the Superior Hiking Trail—but spite doesn’t last long, as Jo and her mom navigate the wilderness, make new friends, and work together to process the difficult emotions that come with divorce. This is an adventure story with a lot of heart. Readers looking for a pulse-pounding survival tale should look elsewhere, as the focus is on Jo dealing with the emotional fallout of her dad leaving. She has plenty of support in the wilderness, a fact that she uses to remind herself that she and her mother have similar support in their lives as well. While Jo’s internal monologue as she processes her feelings about her dad can get a little monotonous, it’s realistic, and her amusing observations about trail life shake things up. As Jo treks with her mom through the wilderness, she learns that things will get better as long as she just keeps moving forward.
VERDICT This is a great choice for libraries looking for realistic fiction about dealing with divorce, as well as those seeking stories about the healing power of nature.

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