Leaving Blythe River

Leaving Blythe River

Author: Catherine Ryan Hyde

Publisher: Lake Union

Release Date: May 24, 2016

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

An unforgettable tale of courage and strength in the trial of a lifetime.

Ethan Underwood is tired of no one believing he is seventeen, he knows he doesn’t look it and sometimes doesn’t act it, but he is fixing to have to show bravery beyond his years. After his father betrays him and his mother, he wants nothing to do with him.  Unfortunately his mom has to go help take care of her ailing parents and Ethan is gets stuck going to stay with his dad who has moved to the Blythe River National Wilderness area.  They don’t have much to say to each other and barely co-exist together.  One day his dad goes for a run and doesn’t come back.  When he hasn’t returned the next day, Ethan notifies the rangers who set out with a search party.  After two days they find nothing and call the search off.  Ethan may not like his father, but he doesn’t want to leave without trying to find him.  With the help of three locals, they set out to find his father and Ethan soon realizes this quest has become about more than finding his Dad.

I have to say I was surprised by how much I enjoyed I enjoyed this book. I really related to Ethan on so many levels.  I never have people believe I’m as old as I say I am and my relationship with my father is not the best.  Maybe not for all the same reasons as Ethan has, but even so it could be much better.  Leaving Blythe River could have all been tied up nice and neat like a half hour sitcom where everyone hugs at the end, but it played out totally believable. Every character has a purpose and played well with each other.  I especially enjoyed the dynamic between Sam and Jone with Ethan.  There was a tiny bit of humor sprinkled in to lighten the mood at just the right times.  I read this in two days and enjoyed the writing very much.  I haven’t read anything by Catherine Ryan Hyde before and am starting to think I have been missing out on some really good stories.  I was especially pleased with the ending, I don’t want to give anything away but the way it played out was very satisfying.  I would recommend this to those that enjoy a good coming of age story where the characters really grow and develop throughout.

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