The Distance Between Lost and Found

by Kathryn Holmes

Hallelujah, Rachel, and Jonah are on a church youth group retreat in the Smoky Mountains. Hallelujah was caught with handsome jerk Luke the year before and since then has retreated into a self-imposed silence and loneliness. When she rebuffs newbie Rachel’s offer of friendship, Rachel takes off mid-hike. Hallelujah follows Rachel, and Jonah follows Hallie.

Then they get lost.

The plot is compulsively readable. You just have to find out what they’re going to eat besides their handful of energy bars, how they’re going to get water, what they do to stay warm, and most of all….if Hallie will allow her loneliness to crack open enough to let Jonah in. Which is good, because at first Hallie comes off as mega wish-washy and you just want to shake her for staying silent and taking it for so long. But if you stick with her long enough for them to get lost, then you’re hooked.

This story is also about God– and whether he’s with you when things go badly and whether we can blame him for not helping or attribute all good luck to him when things go well. I felt that at times the parts about Jonah and Hallie questioning God were handled delicately and added to their characterization.

At the end, I felt maybe it got a little heavy-handed, but it didn’t overpower the joy of watching the three survive despite hypothermia and wounds and bears.

Lovely, sweet romance for YA folks with a bit of cool survivalism and Christianity thrown in for flavor.