The Trail

240p. Scholastic. Jul. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781338035865.
Gr 4–7—Hiking the Appalachian Trail is not for the faint of heart. The trail extends from Georgia to Maine for more than 2,000 miles. Toby, 12, is determined to make his way across the last 400-plus miles of the trail through Maine, the state that hosts the hardest mile of the entire trek. Toby's reason for setting out on his foolhardy solo attempt becomes clear as the story progresses. He feels guilty because he and his best friend Lucas wrote a list of 10 accomplishments they wanted to complete, the final one being hiking the trail. The penultimate one, jumping off a rope into a quarry, was the deed that accidentally killed Lucas and convinced Toby that he needed to hike the trail to complete their list. Toby knows enough to bring gear, food, and money. But he quickly gets into real difficulty when he runs out of food and becomes chilled. Readers will relish experiencing the dangers of living on the wild side. Toby's trip of self-discovery and adventure matures him into a more confident, less negative person who is finally able to forgive himself and feel happiness.
VERDICT This action-packed tale of a boy fighting the elements and his own negative self-image never falters. Buy where wilderness adventure stories and survival tales circulate well.

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