The Distance from Me to You by Marina Gessner
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on October 20th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository
Wild meets Endless Love in this multilayered story of love, survival, and self-discovery.
McKenna Berney is a lucky girl. She has a loving family and has been accepted to college for the fall. But McKenna has a different goal in mind: much to the chagrin of her parents, she defers her college acceptance to hike the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia with her best friend. And when her friend backs out, McKenna is determined to go through with the dangerous trip on her own. While on the Trail, she meets Sam. Having skipped out on an abusive dad and quit school, Sam has found a brief respite on the Trail, where everyone’s a drifter, at least temporarily.
Despite lives headed in opposite directions, McKenna and Sam fall in love on an emotionally charged journey of dizzying highs and devastating lows. When their punch-drunk love leads them off the trail, McKenna has to persevere in a way she never thought possible to beat the odds or risk both their lives.
Review: The Distance From Me To You by Marina Gessner
“McKenna Berney is a lucky girl. She has a loving family and has been accepted to college for the fall. But McKenna has a different goal in mind: much to the chagrin of her parents, she defers her college acceptance to hike the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia with her best friend. And when her friend backs out, McKenna is determined to go through with the dangerous trip on her own. While on the Trail, she meets Sam. Having skipped out on an abusive dad and quit school, Sam has found a brief respite on the Trail, where everyone’s a drifter, at least temporarily.
Despite lives headed in opposite directions, McKenna and Sam fall in love on an emotionally charged journey of dizzying highs and devastating lows. When their punch-drunk love leads them off the trail, McKenna has to persevere in a way she never thought possible to beat the odds or risk both their lives.” (Synopsis taken from Goodreads.com)
“To Mckenna, romance was a night under the stars. She didn’t need a boyfriend with her to make it sound romantic. She just needed clean air, the scent of pine. No sounds except crickets and spring peepers and the wind in the trees.”
“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep.”
“Her first step onto the trail seemed momentous, and strangely private. Thoreau had climbed Katahdin in 1846 and you can bet he didn’t set off with anyone waving from a minivan.”
“One foot in front of the other. There were worse ways to spend your life.”
“Sam walked toward her as if hadn’t been abandoned her of his volition, but had been kidnapped by a band of pirates and spent the past twenty four hours sword fighting his way back to her.”
“The way some moments stay with you forever: McKenna knew that for the rest of her life, rain on a tent flap would be the sound of falling in love.”
“For the first time in her life she wasn’t trying to accomplish anything. She was just being. Under the clear sky, surrounded by trees, accompanied by a person she’d found in the wilderness, a person she really and truly loved.”
“If a girl screams for her boyfriend in the forest and nobody hears, is he a complete jerk?”
“I went into the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
“McKenna had listened to Sam as if he had something to teach her about what was wrong with herself, what needed to be changed. When really, she didn’t need to be changed, not by someone else.”
“And Sam: he had to find his own way out of the woods.”
First off: I loved this book. Seriously one of the most surprising reads!! I got this book for Christmas, so once I finally sat down to read it, I had pretty much completely forgotten what it was about. All I could remember was that it had something to do with camping. I had just finished a binge of about ten Fantasy books, so I was REALLY feeling something totally different.
The first one hundred pages of this book were quite slow for me, I liked where it was going but the current character development/plot line was just that: goingggggg. It felt like there was seriously something missing. This novel had so much more of a hiking memoir feel than I was expecting (and normally a lot more than I would typically go for) and I was really tempted to just put it down and switch to another book. Suffice to say: I am so happy that I kept reading! I read this book in one day, it’s not particularly long or hard to digest and really was an adventure to read.
At about page 120 it finally started to pick up. I was enjoying McKenna’s inner monologues A LOT more at this point, and finally I felt like I could begin to relate to her. I have always been a “go-getter” in life, and it was so easy to identify with McKenna’s personality in that way. Honestly, she was the most surprising part about the entire book. We start off with a girl who just wants to leave her current life in the dust. She’s not spoiled or mistreated – just done. Done with being on the grid and ready to walk. I had a hard time reading from her POV at first because it felt like she did everything as facts. There was no feeling behind it, and she really didn’t realize the implication of any of her actions. As the reader, that was insanely frustrating. But what a change she goes through the course of those 2,000 miles. By the end of the book you have an entirely different character. I LOVED the McKenna we had in the second half of the book. I felt like she was just like me, and I don’t usually see so much of myself in a character.
One other *surprising* aspect of this book was the overall “message” you got. I liked that McKenna was constantly getting pissed off that people were doubting her. I liked that she was always up to try harder, work harder just to prove to herself (and only herself) that all these people really had no reason to be doubting her. She realized so many profound things about herself by the end, SO MUCH STUFF that I wish I had realized about life/myself faster. It made me really proud of how far she had come by the end. *insert teary eye emoji here*
Dear Sam, how I just want to take care of thee. I loved this character, his personality, his internal/external conflicts. He just felt so real and the way he would flirt with McKenna – just yes. I think by the end he had a lot more to still figure out than McKenna did, but considering where he started: what a difference. He is one of the most complex, yet also obviously flawed male leads I have ever read. Even though he was all over the place sometimes, it was like you were right there with him. You could see exactly why he thought or felt like doing something was the appropriate response at the time. My heart hurt for Sam so often in the book, I just…he was so different. I devoured scenes with him in it, and all the sections with his POV.
I also loved Sam and McKenna’s chemistry, this love story was so unique. I cannot express how different – yet so organic – their love story felt. I can already tell that in a few months, when summer starts to peak its head out, I’m going to want to read this one again.
Lastly, this was one of the most intensely unexpected YA novels I’ve got my hands on. It has completely inspired me to go hiking, or camping. I want to push myself like McKenna and Sam, I want to walk: one foot in front of the other and learn what it’s like to be with my own thoughts. Pick this book up my Darlings. If you need a little soul TLC, some guidance, or some unexpected advice. Push through and follow Sam and Mckenna through the woods.
So, What do you think?
Alright my Darlings, give it to me straight. Would you read this? I almost feel like if I had read the synopsis again, I would have been hesitant to pick it up. If you have read it before, did you like it? Let me know down in the comments, or hunt me down on Twitter @Lizalee_ 🙂
Until next time!!