I have no idea what genre this book is, but I love it. The first book I read like this was Kate Alice Marshall’s I Am Still Alive (Review can be found here). Books like these are super intense, but you can’t put them down!
For more synonyms of ‘epic’ to describe Be Not Far From Me, continue on!
Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis, to be published March 3rd, 2020 by . Recommended reading age is 14+.
Body mutilations, graphic foot injury, self amputation, lots of blood and swearing, finding a dead body, slowly dying, killing of animals (strictly to survive, not for fun), intense descriptions of life threatening injuries, underage drinking, starvation, drug use, and probably more. If I missed anything, please let me know and I will edit this!
The world is not tame.
Ashley knows this truth deep in her bones, more at home with trees overhead than a roof. So when she goes hiking in the Smokies with her friends for a night of partying, the falling dark and creaking trees are second nature to her. But people are not tame either. And when Ashley catches her boyfriend with another girl, drunken rage sends her running into the night, stopped only by a nasty fall into a ravine. Morning brings the realization that she’s alone – and far off trail. Lost in undisturbed forest and with nothing but the clothes on her back, Ashley must figure out how to survive despite the red streak of infection creeping up her leg.
Mindy McGinnis is the author of multiple novels that span many genres. From historical to fantasy, contemporary to gothic thriller, you can always count on Mindy’s books to deliver grit, truth, and an unflinching look at humanity and the world around us.
A ninth-generation farmer, Mindy attributes much of her character to growing up on an Ohio farm, learning the value of physical labor, and the harshness of the natural world early in life. Much of her writing reflects small-town living and aspects of rural poverty. A former school librarian, Mindy still lives and works in her hometown, and is dedicated to making herself available to financially disadvantaged school districts and communities.
OMG. This book. I read this in about 2 hours. I could NOT put this book down! This book was incredibly intense and so realistically written that at times, I felt what the MC Ashley was feeling.
There were times when I felt that it was unrealistic that the MC would know all of these things and keep her cool until I read Mindy’s author bio, in which she mentions she grew up learning all of these things and I thought it was so cool! There were moments when I found certain things unrealistic in the sense that how can she keep doing all of these things with half a foot? At one point in the book towards the end (minor spoilers!) she finds an old oil well with a ladder. She then straight up climbs it and I sat there thinking. You’ve been trekking through these woods, starving, slowly dying, FOR TWO WEEKS, and you’re just climbing a ladder? By this point, she had a broken rib, a sprained wrist, and a small tear in her scalp (which I found annoying for the sake of continuity because Mindy McGinnis stayed so true to the injuries that Ashley sustained early through the book, but these last set of injuries happened very near the end of the book that were seemingly only mentioned for the sake of showing how injured Ashley is. It was never mentioned again. I hope that since this is an arc, that gets changed in the final version!) Ashley could be pretty cocky and self absorbed, but when you’re by yourself thinking you’re about to die, what else is there to think about?
I loved the inclusion of the side plot, Davey Beets. It felt like a good full-circle plot line that helped how Ashley kept moving on, kept surviving. It was a sad side plot, but it felt necessary. The flashbacks that included him were interesting and helped show the reader that this is where Ashley learned these skills. She didn’t just grow up in a trailer automatically knowing how to make lean-to’s to keep dry, or flint to amputate her own foot!! In a flashback, Davey calls her Ass-kicker Ashley, and I think this is a very accurate way to describe her.
The way that Ashley describes nature and her relationship with it in the beginning versus towards the end was very telling of the emotional and physical journey that Ashley went though in just 2 weeks! At first, she finds the skull of a buck that she estimates died fairly recently, and peacefully. She also comments on how tranquil she finds the woods and how much she hates the litter she is always finding on her hikes. Towards the end, she calls back to the skull she found and talks about how she feels now vs then, and how she prayed and prayed to find any human made trash because it meant she was close to civilization.
One of my favorite things in this book was actually in the very beginning when Ashley takes herself to bed because she knows if she stays up drinking with these people, some WILL get punched and I LOVED that. I don’t often see that sense of self awareness and it was pretty fun to read that part.
This review is pretty much random ramblings, but that’s because I’m still thinking it over and trying to gather my thoughts. I really loved reading the book and feeling all the emotions that I did! I would recommend reading this, but please heed the content warnings! If this book gets too much for you, don’t feel bad for putting it down!
If you read it, please let me know what you though! I’d also love to know about similar books to this and I Am Still Alive! I’d also recommend to anyone who enjoyed this book to pick that one up. Enjoy!