What if you were looking forward to a couple of weeks in the wilderness by yourself but your live-in, non-outdoorsy boyfriend insisted on coming along too? Would you easily adjust or be put off? Liz Kroft, who had wanted to hike the John Muir Trail alone, had mixed feelings.
Liz hopped from foot to foot and hugged herself against the cold. She glanced at the porch of the Yosemite Valley Wilderness Office, where Dante stood with his back to her, chatting with some other hikers. His shoulders shrugged and dropped, and his hands danced this way and that. He was telling a story--a funny one, judging by the faces of this audience--but not a backpacking story because he didn't have any. His idea of a wilderness adventure was staring out the window during spin class at the gym. Not that it mattered. . . . Liz had know him for over two years and still couldn't decipher how he captured strangers' attention without apparent effort. Dante was black velvet and other people were lint.—The Middle of Somewhere by Sonja Yoerg (Penguin Group USA / NAL Accent, 2015, p. 1)
- Setting: Mostly Yosemite National Park and the John Muir Trail; modern times
- Circumstances: Liz and Dante's rigorous but peaceful backpacking trip turns into a terrifying nightmare as they begin to suspect someone on the trail is determined to harm them. Meanwhile, their relationship is as rocky as the terrain. Liz has secrets and Dante has family issues. Will they be able to work out their differences?
- Characters: Liz, 29, a medical engineer; Dante, her boyfriend of 2 years; Paul & Linda, 50-somethings, hiking the trail for fun; Brensen, an upcoming actor, hiking the trail to prepare for a part; Rodell & Payton, brothers, hiking the trail with no particular plan; day hikers, rangers, and other peripheral characters.
- Genre: outdoor adventure; thriller
- Themes: honesty, relationships, parenting, nature, trust, survival
- What I liked: The descriptions of the park, the outdoor scenes, and life on the trail. The story took a little time to develop, but the creep factor was there. I had a bad feeling from the beginning and was wondering about whom to trust. Would both Liz and Dante make it out of the park alive?
- What I didn't like: I thought maybe there was a tiny bit too much foreshadowing, but that absolutely didn't take away from the spooky, scary parts. Because I'm an experienced backpacker, the camping scenes held my attention more than the flashbacks to Liz and Dante's life back home and the parts about their relationship issues. But that's just me; I wanted to get back to the action and the trail!
- Something to know: The author hiked the entire 200+-mile trail herself, so her rendering of what it's like to be on the John Muir Trail and in the national park is authentic and personal.
Thanks to NAL Accent, I'm able to offer one of my readers with a USA mailing address a copy of The Middle of Somewhere by Sonja Yoerg. All you have to do to be entered for a chance to win is to fill out the following form. I'll pick a winner on October 1, using a random number generator. Once the winner has been confirmed and I've passed the mailing information on to the publicist, I'll erase all personal information from my computer. Good Luck!