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The Distance Between Lost and Found

The Distance Between Lost and Found

4.5 11
by Kathryn Holmes

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Blending elements of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak and Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet, this gripping story from Kathryn Holmes was deemed “a page turner” by author Richard Peck and “an intense story of survival” by ALA Booklist in its starred review.

Sophomore Hallie Calhoun has just endured the most excruciating


Blending elements of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak and Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet, this gripping story from Kathryn Holmes was deemed “a page turner” by author Richard Peck and “an intense story of survival” by ALA Booklist in its starred review.

Sophomore Hallie Calhoun has just endured the most excruciating six months of her life. Once the rumors about her and the preacher’s son, Luke, made their way around school, her friends abandoned her, and as a result, Hallie has completely withdrawn.

Now on a hiking trip in the Smoky Mountains with the same people who have relentlessly taunted her, Hallie is pushed to her limit. Then Hallie, outgoing newcomer Rachel, and Jonah—Hallie’s former friend—get separated from the rest of the group. As days go by without rescue, their struggle for survival turns deadly. Stranded in the wilderness, the three have no choice but to trust one another in order to stay alive…and for Hallie, that means opening up about what really happened that night with Luke.

From the catty atmosphere of high school to the unpredictable terrain of the mountains, this novel is a poignant, raw journey about finding yourself after having been lost for so long.  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A youth group retreat turns into a test of physical and spiritual endurance for Hallelujah and two other teens. Tension is already brewing at the Hiking with Him camp before the three hikers get lost in the woods. Luke, the minister’s son, has told a lie about Hallelujah, trashing her reputation and costing her friends. Hallelujah has a hard time trusting anyone now, even new acquaintance Rachel, who has made friendly overtures. After Rachel, Hallelujah, and her former friend Jonah are separated from the others in the Smoky Mountains, lies, snubs, and grudges pale in comparison to the immediate concern of not being able to find a way back to civilization. In this absorbing debut, Holmes—as well versed in survival tactics as she is in the teenage psyche—delivers plenty of excitement as her characters confront dehydration, starvation, and hypothermia, and nurse wounds caused by accidents off the trail. While eventful, the novel remains reflective in nature, showing Hallelujah’s emotional growth as she considers the past, copes with the present, and bonds with her companions. Ages 13–up. Agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media Group. (Feb.)
VOYA, December 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 5) - Courtney Huse Wika
One terrible night has made it a difficult year for Hallelujah Calhoun. Luke, the most popular boy in her youth group and her supposed boyfriend, spreads rumor after rumor about her purity and character after she is caught in his room after hours at a youth group retreat. No one, including Hallelujah’s parents, will listen to her side of the story, so she retreats into silence and accepts her punishments and status as social outcast. When her youth leader recommends that she return to the youth group, her parents send her to a one-week camp in the woods, where she and two other teens end up lost during a hike. Lost in the wild, she must reckon with what really happened that night and what she has lost because of it. This is a novel of trauma, faith, and hope. Branded a slut, Hallelujah loses her friends, the trust of her parents, and the support of her youth group. This story chronicles her emotional processing not only of the event but also of the fallout: its effect on her self-esteem, her relationships, and her belief in God. Readers are left with the message that faith and hope are everyday struggles and that belief in oneself is crucial to survival. Lost, with only enough food for two days, the teens must rely on one another to survive in the wild. Because the novel strikes a nice balance between the deeper philosophical issues and adventure, it will appeal to a diverse audience. Reviewer: Courtney Huse Wika; Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—When high school sophomore Hallelujah attends a church camping trip in the Great Smoky Mountains, she does not expect much. Over the past few months, her life has been reduced to a series of negatives. She used to have friends. She used to be confident. She used to sing. She used to be good friends with Jonah. She used to have faith in God. Now she is sad, quiet, insecure, and lonely thanks to the ruthless slandering and bullying campaign headed by the handsome and seemingly perfect preacher's son, Luke. When Hallelujah, Jonah, and another girl, Rachel, become separated from the group while hiking, the trio become lost. As hours pass and then days, the teens find that staying alive is only part of their struggle. In addition to the cold weather, torrential rain, hunger, and sundry health crises, the characters deal with a host of emotions involving their pasts—guilt, resentment, fear, forgiveness, hate, and love. Into the story of survival are woven the protagonist's flashbacks that reveal in poignant detail the eviscerating effect of unremitting bullying on the human psyche. Hallelujah is Everygirl. Her physical appearance is never described, so it is easy for readers to see themselves in her. Hallelujah is likable and believable. Readers will come to care for her and cheer her on her journey. This is a perfectly balanced novel wherein the heroine wrestles with survival of not just her body but of her spirit as well.—Jennifer Prince, Buncombe County Public Libraries, NC
Kirkus Reviews
Hallelujah thought that if she kept her head down, pastor's son Luke, the popular boy she once crushed on, would stop bullying her and spreading humiliating lies about what happened between them. Instead, her refusing to defend herself has allowed Luke's lies to go unchallenged and estranged Hallie from her friends. Compounding her isolation, her naïve, deeply religious parents accept Luke's account of her behavior and enroll her in a church-sponsored, spring-break camp in Tennessee's Smoky Mountains, where Luke's bullying continues. Mistrustful, immobilized by despair, Hallie avoids former close friend Jonah and rebuffs friendly overtures from a new girl, Rachel. When Rachel quits a contentious hike (no cellphones allowed) to return to camp, Hallie and Jonah join her. Inexperienced in the wilderness, they head in the wrong direction, then—in a heavy rain squall—lose the trail altogether. No one's brought a flashlight; provisions are lunch leftovers, water and a can of soda. They move instead of staying put, fail to recognize poison ivy, freeze at night. The struggle to survive is terrifying but galvanizing, even cleansing. In calmer moments, they ponder life's unanswerable questions, and faith (there are no atheists in foxholes) is proven a power in its own right. Readers will root for Hallie, a compelling original, to find faith in herself. Vivid, gripping and believable from beginning to end—a strong debut. (Fiction. 13-16)
Booklist (starred review)
“An intense story of survival. First-time author, Holmes, writes with the skill of far more experienced writer as she plots the teens’ struggles to keep going and offers vivid descriptions of nature and its sometimes terrible beauty.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The survival story effectively overlays adolescent crises over rugged nature; readers will find echoes of Hatchet as these teens find strength, courage, and redemption in their struggle to survive in a hostile yet breathtakingly beautiful environment.”
Richard Peck
“Kathryn Holmes has written a page-turner about several kinds of survival and several kinds of faith. This is an imposing debut novel.”
Julie Berry
“This intimate portrayal of Hallelujah’s dark night of the soul while lost and injured in the Smoky Mountains held me spellbound. Kathryn Holmes’s debut is sensitively painted, deeply romantic, and profoundly hopeful.”
Courtney C. Stevens
“Hallelujah Calhoun is a trailblazer for those who have endured lies and bullying and learn not only to survive, but to stand up for the truth.”
Trish Doller
“The Distance Between Lost and Found is both a suspense-filled survival story and a thoughtful look at faith, trust, and courage that will stay with you after you’ve turned the last page. I didn’t want it to end.”
Lauren Morrill
“A beautifully written story of faith, friendship, and first love that is truly un-put-downable.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 5.70(h) x 1.20(d)
HL540L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Kathryn Holmes grew up in Maryville, Tennessee, where she was an avid reader and an aspiring writer from an early age. She now lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and piles upon piles of books. A graduate of the New School's MFA in creative writing program, Kathryn works as a freelance dance journalist, among other writing gigs. The Distance Between Lost and Found is her debut novel.

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The Distance Between Lost and Found 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A story of survival...also betrayal, pain and loyalty. This story has no soft edges. The writer makes the reader feel the desperation of three teens being lost in the mountains...freezing temperatures, little food, drinking rainwater and trying to find their way back to civilization. Add injury and sickness and as hope fades, each teen opens up to the others about the conflicts ruling their lives at home. The book is extremely well written and I would recommend it to both teens and adults. It's not often you feel like you experienced the same things the characters were going through. Jp
Anonymous 7 months ago
For three teens on their way to discovering who they are.
Chancie More than 1 year ago
Victim blaming, sexist, and misogynistic. Outside of that, there wasn't very much for plot. It feels like a poorly done "rewrite" of Speak. No thank you.
booookworm More than 1 year ago
SUCH A GOOD BOOK!!!! HALLIE IS SUCH AN AMAZING CHARACTER. This book is so well written and read it in one sitting. READ IT! YOU WON'T REGRET IT!!!!!!
KerryOMalleyCerra More than 1 year ago
Hallelujah (Hallie, Hal) has sufferer gravely at the lies of the preacher's son, Luke, and as much as she's suffering, she can't bring herself to tell anyone the truth about what really happened that night. She know she should. She wants to. But she can't. And Luke continues to torture her socially to make sure she stays quiet. But, getting lost with two other campers in the Smokey Mountains while on a youth group trip, Hallie begins to find her inner strength. Rescued or not, she makes peace with herself, with her two companions, and God. This is a most beautiful story filled with much hope. If you like this, I also recommend NATURE GIRL, by Jane Kelly. Both of these are sure to be on my favorites list for a lifetime.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
I liked this book more for its survival aspect than its main theme of finding redemption. Out in the Smoky Mountains as part of a youth group retreat, three teens become separated from the rest of their group as they end up having to depend on each other to survive. Hallie has been an outcast for the past 6 months and is part of this threesome, wanting answers from Jonah who used to be her friend. As Hallie, Jonah and Rachel trek through the mountainous terrain, looking for help, their situation becomes desperate but the lines of communication open up and Hallie is learning exactly what turned her life around 6 months ago. The ties within this threesome become stronger as their situation becomes gray. The author paints a beautiful picture of the Smoky Mountains, its lush green landscape and abundant opportunities while the threesome cope with their dire situation. A great novel about survival, confidence and friendship.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was hooked by the well plotted and well paced action adventure aspect of this novel. I'm not religious, so I thought the setting and conflict of faith might be off putting, but the way it is addressed is so sweet and honest and important that it won me over. 
brownbookworm More than 1 year ago
This awesome book tells the story of Hallelujah, a high-schooler who is struggling with vicious rumors going around about her. Hallelujah attends a youth group summer camp and gets lost in the woods with two other students. While dealing with the perils of the woods -- injury, hunger, anxiety, wild animals, Hallelujah has to also face other demons -- sadness, her past, internal anger, etc. The MC's struggle is very compelling. The MC is a true teenager -- her worries, her fears, her decision-making process, how she hides things. I really felt connected to her journey and her fears. As a middle school librarian, this book is perfect for a group read and discussion, as well as for the kid you know is going through something and might need a book to help open things up. Highly recommend.
kimberlyfaye More than 1 year ago
If I'm being totally honest, I was a little hesitant to read this book just because I'm not one who enjoys a lot of religion in her books. Don't get me wrong, I'm ok when a character has strong beliefs. I just don't like to feel like there's an agenda or like I'm being preached to. It's a fine line for me. Since this book is set during a youth group retreat, I was nervous. But, in the end, I had nothing to worry about. That's not to say there isn't religion in this book. There is. It's a centerpiece of the entire story. And I loved how it was woven into this book.  I've read a couple survivalist stories as of late and while they're not something I want to read A LOT of, I've thoroughly enjoyed those I've read. I'm a big fan of contemporary stories and have enjoyed the addition of "something else" to the storylines. Something more than just relationship and family drama that tend to drive the plot in contemporary books. The Distance Between Lost and Found wasn't simply a survivalist story, however. It was the story of a girl struggling to find her place in the world... at the time she was the most lost. Literally and figuratively. I loved how seamlessly the two paired together. That's what made this book stand out most for me. I found it easy to relate to Hallelujah, despite the obvious differences between us. When the book begins, we know Hallie is keeping a secret. It's one that's affected her life in a number of ways and left her an outcast among her peers. The secret isn't revealed until quite awhile into the book and the bit of mystery surrounding it definitely added to the story. Hallie's character growth throughout this book was wonderful. She started out the book fairly weak and more than a little conflicted, but her time spent lost in the woods served to bring out another side of her. By the end, I found her more confident and physically and mentally stronger. So much more sure of herself. The secondary characters in this book were great, too. The ever-shifting dynamics between Hallie, Jonah and Rachel moved the story forward just as much as the things that happened to them while they were lost. I was unsure of Jonah in the beginning, but it didn't take long for me to be singing his praises and wanting him and Hallie to move past the drama of their pasts and find something together. They were just too perfect together.  I really enjoyed this book. It started off a bit slow for me, but I was invested from the start. Once the action really started and the truth began pouring out, I couldn't put the book down. Literally. I read it in one sitting, unwilling to leave my sofa long enough to even eat lunch. I never had the false sense of security where I believed everything would work out for this trio. I was kept on my toes, desperately needing a resolution. Excellent book. I look forward to more from Kathryn Holmes in the future.  I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kathryn Holmes does a great job of blending the adventure/survival story with contemporary YA issues. First, on the survival front: Holmes does not go easy on her characters. Hallie, Rachel, and Jonah purposely leave their group and figure it would be easy enough to find their way back. Right. The physical challenges they face include a limited amount of food and clean water, poison ivy, and a severely sprained ankle–for starters. Things get worse. Much worse. The increasing tension related to their survival make you care about the characters and their fate, as they in a life or death situation. Next, on the social/emotional front: Being stranded in the Smoky Mountains would have been enough as far as conflicts go, but Holmes adds another layer. These teens are on a religious retreat rife with gossip and back-stabbing, stemming from an incident that happened much earlier. Hallie’s pain is real and raw. She has to dig deep into her physical and emotional reserves not only to survive this situation but also to get through it with renewed faith in herself, God, and those around her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an amazing book! Great messages and lessons all mixed in with suspense, drama, and a pinch of sweetness! A must read!