Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Meika Hashimoto
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Toby and Lucas are two inseparable friends. Lucas is brave and outgoing, while Toby tags quietly along with his friend. Together, the boys planned several daring summer activities to do before school started. One activity was hiking the risky Appalachian Trail. Unfortunately, Lucas is killed when attempting another of their activities. To aid his grief, Toby follows through with their hike, except he goes alone and doesn’t tell anyone. Soon the hazards of the outdoors threaten Toby’s life. Luckily, two seasoned teenage hikers take in Toby and teach him better survival skills. Along the way, Toby adopts an abused, starving dog he names Moose. Even though Toby runs out of funds and finishes his hike early, he knows his adventures turned him into someone Lucas would be proud of.
Hashimoto’s story is an addictive adventure with realistic thrills, chills, and spills. Toby felt discarded by his parents after their divorce. These feelings defined Toby’s existence, making him want to disappear. Except when Toby moved in with his grandmother, Lucas immediately noticed Toby and wanted to be his friend. Toby’s association with Lucas changed his life, so losing Lucas cut incredibly deep. To avoid reverting to his previous non-existent state, Toby goes on the trail to find himself and his courage. Any fans of Roland Smith, Gary Paulsen, Brandon Wallace, or Will Hobbs will enjoy The Trail.