I had read a lot of heavy books lately and so I was looking for something lighter and more fun to read. That is what lead me to The Distance From Me to You by Marina Gessner. It reminded me of the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed which I loved. So I was excited to find a similar book.
The Distance From Me to You follows the story of McKenna who was originally supposed to hike the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia with her best friend Courtney following their graduation from high school. However, two weeks before they are supposed to leave Courtney bails on McKenna. Instead of McKenna changing her plans she decides to hike by herself. Along the way she runs into Sam, who is also hiking the trail but for different reasons than McKenna. Together they complete most of the journey towards Georgia, getting to know each other along the way. They will face both the danger of the trail and the danger of falling in love.
One thing I loved about this book was the concept and the setting. I loved the idea of her going out and hiking the trail. I loved the setting of the trail. Reading about her hiking the different spots on the trail was interesting. I always wonder how people can manage to hike hundreds of miles away from civilization. I enjoyed when McKenna would stop at the different camp sites and interact with each other. Everyone would share their food and drinks with all of the other hikers. This was something that Cheryl Strayed wrote about in her book as well and it makes me happy that people can all bond over one common goal. Even if each person was hiking a different distance they were all hiking the same trail.
I also felt like this book handle McKenna hiking fairly accurately. It wasn’t easy for her. She didn’t just go out and easily hike the trail with no problems. She struggled multiple times and didn’t do everything perfect. Which I believe would happen to even the best trained hiker out there.
This type of book in my opinion is a great way to show character development. By the end of the book McKenna had shown some development from who she had been before she hiked the trail. She was the type of girl who always followed the rules and while on the trail she continued to follow all of the rules to the T. Sam teased her a few times about that and McKenna let it get to her, but at the end she realized that it was fine if she liked to follow the rules and that she didn’t need to care what others thought of her. There is also more on her development below.
**Warning some spoilers below that cannot be avoided to discuss because this was one of my favorite aspects of the book**
McKenna’s relationship with Sam was interesting to me. While it was definitely cheesy that they fell in love so quickly on the trail but to me it was pretty realistic. Here they are, practically isolated from the world, and all they have is each other to rely on. It doesn’t surprise me that they would develop feelings for each other. I don’t necessarily believe that their love was an extremely deep never ending love. I think that the author was able to portray this too in the book and it showed some of McKenna’s development. At the end of the novel Sam and McKenna do not end up together. However, McKenna acknowledges that she will always look back at her time on the trail with Sam with love. She also tells him that she cannot save him again and that he needs to get himself out of the woods on his own. I really liked this part of the book. I am getting tired of the girls always giving up their plans because they fell in love with a guy. At the end of this book McKenna told Sam that while she still loved him she would be starting college in Oregon at the start of the next school year and that she was sure they would run into each other again. I loved loved LOVED that she kept to her plan (with only a slight change but nothing that really ruined her independence) and that she didn’t give up her future because of someone guy she still was getting to know. She recognized that while they loved each other there was still so much that they had to do on their own before either of them were ready to plan their lives around each other.
**Spoiler part over**
Well now that I am done ranting about that part of the book I will tell you all to just go out there and by this book if you are looking for a fun and heartwarming story, with a few twists and turns along the way. I feel like I could go on and on forever about this book but I will leave you all with that.