Author: Catherine Ryan Hyde
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Date of publication: May 2016
Seventeen-year-old Ethan Underwood is totally unprepared to search for his father in the Blythe River National Wilderness. Not only is he small, scrawny, and skittish but he’s barely speaking to the man after a traumatic betrayal. Yet when his father vanishes from their remote cabin and rangers abandon the rescue mission, suddenly it’s up to Ethan to keep looking. Angry or not, he’s his father’s only hope.
With the help of three locals—a fearless seventy-year-old widow, a pack guide, and a former actor with limited outdoor skills—he heads into the wild. The days that follow transform Ethan’s world. Hail, punishing sun, swollen rapids, and exhausting pain leave him wondering if he’s been fooled yet again: Is his father out here at all? As the situation grows increasingly dire, Ethan realizes this quest has become about more than finding his dad.
From the bestselling author of Pay It Forward comes a story of nature revealing human nature—the trickiest terrain. Navigating an unforgiving landscape, Ethan searches himself for the ability to forgive his father—if he finds him alive.
Leaving Blythe River is a coming of age story involving seventeen year old Ethan who decides to search for his missing father after forest rangers abandon the search for him. Joining him are three locals who help him in the search. After finishing and thinking about the book, I have to say while I did like some of it, I didn't love it. I have seen rave reviews, so I must be in the minority.
What I did like about the book was the way the author was able to draw you into the adventure. Her descriptions of the wilderness helped place me right into the search along with Ethan. I also liked Ethan's character. I enjoyed watching him grow as he searches for his father. I also thought the side characters added some nice flavor to the book.
So while I liked those things, I felt there were other things that kept me from fully enjoying the book. I felt like there was not enough background information on Ethan and his parents as a whole. I found it odd that his father all of a sudden goes from being a businessman (?) to moving to the mountains and running 20 miles a day. It isn't until toward the end of the book that we find out he climbed Mount Everest when Ethan was born and likes extreme sports. That is when we also find out his mother is into all of that stuff as well. Also, what happened to Jennifer? I found the ending to be a bit over the top and I didn't really buy into it. I also got kind of tired of people always questioning Ethan's age. I think after the first couple of times I got that he was short and young looking.
This is the first book by this author that I have read. I never had the pleasure of reading Pay it Forward. I feel like this book would do well with the YA crowd. Pick it up and give it a shot.
About Catherine Ryan Hyde
Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of thirty published and forthcoming books. Her bestselling 1999 novel Pay It Forward, adapted into a major Warner Bros. motion picture starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt, made the American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults list and was translated into more than two dozen languages for distribution in more than thirty countries. Her novels Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List; Jumpstart the World was also a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards and won Rainbow Awards in two categories. More than fifty of her short stories have been published in many journals, including the Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and the Sun, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts and the bestselling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot. Her short fiction received honorable mention in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest, a second-place win for the Tobias Wolff Award, and nominations for Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have also been cited in Best American Short Stories.
Ryan Hyde is also founder and former president of the Pay It Forward Foundation. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.
Connect with Catherine Ryan Hyde
Catherine Ryan Hyde’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Tuesday, May 24th: Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, May 26th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Friday, June 3rd: Write Read Life
Monday, June 6th: Just Commonly
Monday, June 13th: Puddletown Reviews
Tuesday, June 14th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Wednesday, June 15th: The Magic All Around Us
Thursday, June 16th: Book Dilettante
Monday, June 20th: FictionZeal
Tuesday, June 21st: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, June 22nd: Hoser’s Blook
Thursday, June 23rd: I’d Rather Be at the Beach
Friday, June 24th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Monday, June 27th: Bibliotica
TBD: Sweet Southern Home