Mindy McGinnis's Be Not Far from Me | Credit: Courtesy

Mindy McGinnis’s thrilling and gory new YA novel Be Not Far from Me begins with Ashley, a high school cross-country track star, and her friends hiking far into the Tennessee woods for a night of partying. When she stumbles upon her boyfriend and his ex-girlfriend kissing, Ashley runs deep into the stark midnight forest, falls into a ravine, and is knocked unconscious. She awakens in the morning to find herself alone and lost with only the echoes of her voice and birds chirping to keep her company. With just the clothes on her back — and a deep wound in her foot — Ashley is forced to rely on nature to keep herself alive.

The novel takes readers through an unimaginable experience yet makes it realistic enough that you will never set foot in a forest again without shivers from Ashley’s story resurfacing. Throughout her grim journey in the Smokies, Ashley finds herself becoming one with nature and unapologetically enjoying life. Anecdotes from her ruthless upbringing explain how she became the tough young adult she is. Absorbed in her fight to survive, you’ll be rooting for her even when she’s not. By pulling the reader into Ashley’s heroic and action-packed survival narrative, McGinnis makes it easier to sleep at night knowing there’s a vivid page-turner to go back to in the morning.  

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