Leaving Blythe River: A Novel

I loved Catherine Ryan Hyde's Pay It Forward. That same mesmerizing writing style draws you into Leaving Blythe River: A Novel. I'm not sure of the intended audience in this new novel, the hero is a 17-year-old boy, but I feel the story will appeal to all ages.

His parents' marriage is over, and the events leading up to it forever changed Ethan Underwood. He's not happy to be heading off to spend time with his father in the wilderness of Blythe River. For this city boy, being told that he should never leave the house without bear repellent is not appealing. He's also not thrilled to be with the father that betrayed Ethan in more ways than one.

When Ethan's father never returns from his daily run, Ethan becomes concerned and contacts authorities. After a two-day search, they decide Ethan's father must have taken off and abandoned his son. Ethan's not as convinced and does not want to go home until he's at least made the attempt to find his dad. With the help of a skilled pack guide and a bold elderly neighbor, Ethan and the pair head out into the forest to see if they can discover the truth.

I loved this story. It's a great coming-of-age story with tense moments and emotional interactions between the much younger Ethan and the seniors helping him navigate the wilderness. It's not an overly long story, I finished it in a couple hours, but it definitely holds your attention from start to finish.


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