I had this book for a while and even tried starting it a couple of times before, but it was only last Monday that I really began getting to it. I started at half past midnight, right after I got home from work, and before I even realized it, it was already 3 in the morning and I’m already a third into the book. When I woke up that morning, I made a point to read another few pages before getting ready for my shift.
Something about Hallelujah and her plight just hooked me right off the bat. If I had to guess, I’d say that it’s her determinedly stone-faced attitude towards the bullying she was going through, which is what we saw at the beginning of the book. It takes a lot of strength and a lot of pain for that kind of thick skin to develop, and somehow, this thought made me really curious about Hallie and her story, and even made me start to care for her as a character.
The book opens with Hallie in a Christian Youth Group retreat, being bullied by a guy named Luke who obviously has a really strong effect on her. The reason why is not disclosed until further into the book, but before that we meet Rachel, the new girl who tried to befriend Hallie when she noticed her being closed off and isolated, and Jonah who used to be Hallie’s good friend but abandoned her after the thing with Luke began. Circumstances draw them all together, and then they get lost in the woods. Each day bleeds into the next and they are still hopelessly lost with only themselves to rely on for survival.
I can honestly say that the story took an unexpected turn after just a few pages. I’m not really sure what I was expecting but Kathryn Holmes gave me so much more. I really loved all the characters that came into a play because all of them were expertly drawn and none of them fell flat. I connected so much with Hallie in terms of how she dealt with her pain, how she retreated in her shell as the bullying became more and more vicious. The budding friendship between the three main characters felt real, and it felt genuine and as a reader, I’d like to think that it’s the kind that will last because it certainly felt like the type of bond that would as I was reading about it.
I think that the title is really appropriate — The Distance Between Lost and Found — because that’s exactly where Hallie was in the book, in that long stretch of road between losing herself and finding herself once again. I think a lot of us have been there as well, which is why this book is really relatable. It took a lot before Hallie regained control of her own life. It took them getting lost in the woods before everything that happened had some sort of closure, but it was a journey I was glad to be part of, despite the parts of it that were harrowing for the protagonist and her companions.
All in all, I think that for a debut novel, this is a really, really strong one. It was touching and engaging, and it was poignant without trying too hard. I’m so, so glad I picked this book up and decided finally to read it after months of procrastinating. Needless to say, Kathryn Holmes is an author I’ll be actively watching out for.
I recommend this book for anyone who’s looking for something fresh to read, something insightful, and deep, and engaging. As for my rating, I give this book 5 coconuts and I will be adding this to my recommended page as well. :)