The Distance Between Lost and Found

320p. ebook available. HarperCollins/Harper. Feb. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062317261.
Gr 7 Up—When high school sophomore Hallelujah attends a church camping trip in the Great Smoky Mountains, she does not expect much. Over the past few months, her life has been reduced to a series of negatives. She used to have friends. She used to be confident. She used to sing. She used to be good friends with Jonah. She used to have faith in God. Now she is sad, quiet, insecure, and lonely thanks to the ruthless slandering and bullying campaign headed by the handsome and seemingly perfect preacher's son, Luke. When Hallelujah, Jonah, and another girl, Rachel, become separated from the group while hiking, the trio become lost. As hours pass and then days, the teens find that staying alive is only part of their struggle. In addition to the cold weather, torrential rain, hunger, and sundry health crises, the characters deal with a host of emotions involving their pasts—guilt, resentment, fear, forgiveness, hate, and love. Into the story of survival are woven the protagonist's flashbacks that reveal in poignant detail the eviscerating effect of unremitting bullying on the human psyche. Hallelujah is Everygirl. Her physical appearance is never described, so it is easy for readers to see themselves in her. Hallelujah is likable and believable. Readers will come to care for her and cheer her on her journey. This is a perfectly balanced novel wherein the heroine wrestles with survival of not just her body but of her spirit as well.—Jennifer Prince, Buncombe County Public Libraries, NC
After months of bullying regarding "indiscretions" with the preacher's son, Hallelujah is sent on a church camping trip with her tormentors. Then Hallelujah and two others (one is her former friend), become stranded alone the woods. In order to survive, they must learn to rely on one another, regardless of past hurts. This poignant survival story is carried by its believable protagonist.

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