Friday, December 6, 2013


Purchase on Amazon.

I’m a sucker for a good setup.  So much of a novel, I think, hinges on the opening pages.  If you can haul readers in, make them invest in the beginning, I think they’re with you until the end.  (I rarely, as a reader, give up completely on a book; I do, however, quit reading hard and start skimming when I can’t connect personally.  If I’m really invested at the beginning, though, I continue to read hard—even if I feel the book begins to take a few unrealistic turns.)

Catherine Ryan Hyde’s WALK ME HOME has maybe one of the best setups of all time.  You can't help but care about young Jen and Carly as they attempt to hike across the Southwest to California.  Hyde puts in all the details that make you fear for the girls’ safety (without overkilling it on sensory description—a lesson I took to heart), and just enough backstory sprinkled in to propel you forward.  

WALK ME HOME is a compelling read from beginning to end.  (This is in no way a book you're going to want to skim.  This is a book you settle into for the long haul.  A book that makes you feel as though you're taking the journey alongside these sisters.)  But I always wind up feeling as though I’ve learned something new about writing each time I pick up a Catherine Ryan Hyde book.  And it’s the setup of WALK ME HOME that will stay with me, each time I start a new novel of my own…

Since their mother’s sudden death, sixteen-year-old Carly and her eleven-year-old sister, Jen, have been walking and hitchhiking across the Southwest trying to find Teddy, the closest thing they have to a family. Carly desperately hopes Teddy will take them in and save them from going into foster care—and forgive them for the lies told by their mother.

But when the starving girls get caught stealing food on a Native American reservation, their journey gets put on hold. While the girls work off their debt, Carly becomes determined to travel onward—until Jen confesses a terrible secret that leaves both sisters wondering if they can ever trust again.

Set against the backdrop of the American Southwest, Walk Me Home and its resilient heroines will inspire readers and renew their faith in recovery and redemption.

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