Wild meets Endless Love in this multilayered story of love, survival, and self-discovery.
McKenna Berney is a lucky girl. She has a loving family and has been accepted to college for the fall. But McKenna has a different goal in mind: much to the chagrin of her parents, she defers her college acceptance to hike the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia with her best friend. And when her friend backs out, McKenna is determined to go through with the dangerous trip on her own. While on the Trail, she meets Sam. Having skipped out on an abusive dad and quit school, Sam has found a brief respite on the Trail, where everyone’s a drifter, at least temporarily.
Despite lives headed in opposite directions, McKenna and Sam fall in love on an emotionally charged journey of dizzying highs and devastating lows. When their punch-drunk love leads them off the trail, McKenna has to persevere in a way she never thought possible to beat the odds or risk both their lives.
I’m not the biggest hiker. I went hiking for the first time ever this past summer, so you could say that I’m a beginner. When I found out that The Distance from Me to You is about an 18 year-old girl who attempts thru hiking through the Appalachian Trail, I was really intrigued. However, the romance fell flat for me and the characters’ choices made my eyes roll in annoyance.
There are primarily two characters in The Distance from Me to You because it’s a story about a hike, so there has to be a pretty narrow focus on characters. This means we follow Mckenna and the guy she meets on the trail, Sam. While the story is mostly about McKenna, the reader gets some insight about Sam’s backstory since it’s told from an omniscient third person perspective.
Mckenna and Sam fall in love pretty quickly. Even though their circumstances were different because they met on the trail, it wasn’t a dire situation or anything. They meet on the trail and just “fall in love”. Just like that. It didn’t feel real to me at all and there was no foundation for their romance.
Moreover, they had so many back-and-forth banter that led to irrational decisions. Like, annoying, unnecessary banter. I eye-rolled so many times.
There are good and bad ideas in this story for sure. I didn’t really like how Gessner created characters who had to learn the hard way instead of following directions in the first place. I guess it’s a good lesson for rebellious teens? “Follow the rules before someone gets hurt”.
As a hiking story though, I think there’s a lot of room for self-discovery. Hiking involves a lot of introspective thinking. However, Gessner spelled it out too clearly for the reader instead of showing the reader that Mckenna went through character growth. In fact, Gessner explains all of these important lessons learned from hiking alone, but I never felt that Mckenna learned those lessons herself.
THIS HIKING STORY FELL FLAT (PUN INTENDED)
The Distance from Me to You is, ironically, not a story that peaks. The main characters were irrational and their romance didn’t make any sense. There are certain ideas in this story that are intriguing, but not particularly the most thought-provoking I’ve ever read. In any case, this hiking story is entertaining for introverts who don’t hike much and would like to experience the danger of the woods in the safety of their own bed.