Girl Online meets Wild in this emotionally charged story of girl who takes to the wilderness to rediscover herself and escape the superficial persona she created on social media.
Mari Turner’s life is perfect. That is, at least to her thousands of followers who have helped her become an internet starlet. But when she breaks down and posts a video confessing she’s been living a lie—that she isn’t the happy, in-love, inspirational online personality she’s been trying so hard to portray—it goes viral and she receives major backlash. To get away from it all, she makes an impulsive decision: to hike the entire John Muir trail. Mari and her late cousin, Bri, were supposed to do it together, to celebrate their shared eighteenth birthday. But that was before Mari got so wrapped up in her online world that she shut anyone out who questioned its worth—like Bri.
With Bri’s boots and trail diary, a heart full of regret, and a group of strangers that she meets along the way, Mari tries to navigate the difficult terrain of the hike. But the true challenge lies within, as she searches for the way back to the girl she fears may be too lost to find: herself.
I really enjoyed this, plus I am now desperate to go on a decent hike somewhere gorgeous.
It is a lighthearted and easy read, even while touching on grief and feelings of inadequacy. Mari is not always 100% likeable, but she is trying which I liked. And I like that we see her doubts about her life before, and see her grow through the book in an effort to change how she thinks and reprioritise. I was a little let down at the end as we don’t really get to see that change take effect, but I liked the journey.
The grief especially is well done – Bri is only seen on snapshots and yet still feels like a main character. I liked that a lot. I feel I would have liked her too, even if she would have massively intimidated me! 😂
The trail crew were fab too, but again a little under fleshed out. I know they’re not the point of the journey, but they are in it a lot and we don’t learn a lot about them. I guess that’s part of the issue with the book being so short, if we’d had another 100 pages or so, there would have been space for more on the other characters and an epilogue of sorts.
That said those really are my main two complaints and I’d still say it’s worth reading – it’s one of those books that makes you a little introspective, leaves you feeling positive, and hopefully makes you want to go out and experience nature for a day or two.
Buy The Other Side of Lost from Amazon UK (affiliate link)