The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes
Published: February 17th, 2015
320 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Acquired this book: From the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
Ever since the night of the incident with Luke Willis, the preacher’s son, sophomore Hallelujah Calhoun has been silent. When the rumors swirled around school, she was silent. When her parents grounded her, she was silent. When her friends abandoned her … silent.
Now, six months later, on a youth group retreat in the Smoky Mountains, Hallie still can’t find a voice to answer the taunting. Shame and embarrassment haunt her, while Luke keeps coming up with new ways to humiliate her. Not even meeting Rachel, an outgoing newcomer who isn’t aware of her past, can pull Hallie out of her shell. Being on the defensive for so long has left her raw, and she doesn’t know who to trust.
On a group hike, the incessant bullying pushes Hallie to her limit. When Hallie, Rachel, and Hallie’s former friend Jonah get separated from the rest of the group, the situation quickly turns dire. Stranded in the wilderness, the three have no choice but to band together.
With past betrayals and harrowing obstacles in their way, Hallie fears they’ll never reach safety. Could speaking up about the night that changed everything close the distance between being lost and found? Or has she traveled too far to come back?
The Distance Between Lost and Found is a hard book to peg down. I felt so many different things while reading it. My mental rating of it went up and down throughout, but by the end, it was easy for me to give the book 4 stars. It was told in third person present tense, which I normally don’t like, and it had religious themes, which I tend to avoid. Something about this book made me curious, though, and I’m glad I gave it a chance because I ended up really enjoying it.
Normally, for me, third person present tense feels stilted and impersonal; it’s like reading a play, and it can be hard to get a sense of who the characters really are on a deeper level. With The Distance Between Lost and Found, I was pleasantly surprised. The characters were really well developed, and I felt like I got a good sense of who they were. There was also a surprising amount of character development, especially considering the book took course over such a short period. It felt very authentic to me, probably because of the characters’ circumstances, and I enjoyed watching the characters, especially Hallie, learn and grow. By the end, I felt a deep connection to her, which I honestly wasn’t expecting. I was proud of her, and I wanted the best for her.
The religious themes were handled well. I appreciated that Hallie was honest about her feelings regarding feeling God’s presence, wondering if and why he’d abandoned her, why it seemed like some people were never punished for things, and that maybe not everything could be attributed to God - maybe she should be able to take credit for certain things. Sometimes books with religious themes make me uncomfortable, and some of them have even made me see red (which is why I tend to stay away from them), but when religious themes are handled as well as they were in The Distance Between Lost and Found, I can appreciate and even enjoy them.
The story wasn’t necessary draggy, but there were parts that felt too long. I found myself wishing a few times that they’d just be rescued already, or that Hallie would just spit out her story and stop drawing it out. A lot of times when a character has this huge secret to tell and it takes them forever to spill, it ends up feeling anticlimactic. While I thought it took too long to get the whole story, I was pleased with the story itself - it was appropriately rage-inducing and made me really feel for Hallie and her situation and the unfairness of it. I liked that it brought her closer to Rachel and Jonah, and that by telling her story for the first time, she was able to heal part of herself.
Overall The Distance Between Lost and Found was a very enjoyable read. It was an interesting mix of contemporary and survival story. I loved the characters and feel like Hallie, Rachel, and Jonah will stick with me for a while.
Have you read The Distance Between Lost and Found? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Do you like wilderness survival stories? Let's talk here or on Twitter!