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 believe this is my first Jessi Kirby novel, and it was sweet, short, and emotional. This novel follows Mari as she attempts to hike the daunting 211 miles of the John Muir trail. Along the way, she deals with the death of her cousin Bri and meets new friends during her trip.
Mari is an internet star, and she posts about how her life isn’t as picturesque as it seems. As a result, she receives a lot of negative attention and decides to hike the John Muir trail in Bri’s shoes (literally). I’m not a huge fan of social media-related stories, I’ve realized, but I’m glad that social media was only a very small portion of the novel – something that just pushed the plot. The rest of the novel is quite the opposite – we go along with Mari during her hike, so we get a lot of nature and gorgeous imagery.
Mari is dealing with the grief after her cousin Bri died, and it was nice to see Mari be able to eventually talk about Bri’s death with her friends. There was also a cute romance between her and Josh, and it’s definitely not the focal point of this novel, which I liked. Kirby does a great job of maintaining the theme of staying true to yourself but also pushing yourself to do something scary and new. My only reservation was that I felt like at some points, this novel lagged.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel! This is a really great summer read, dealing with themes of grief, death, hiking, social media, and romance. If you’re looking for a cute, emotional read, be sure to pick this one up!
Thank you to Harper for providing an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Alice is an 19 year old college student who loves the oxford comma, television shows, and the company of dogs. She finds writing in the third person odd yet enjoyable. You can find her scrolling through Twitter, Instagram, and forever organizing her shelves on Goodreads.