Book Review: Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis

I received an ARC of Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis from Harper Collins Canada. I requested this novel as I had read and enjoyed a previous novel by this author and wanted to know how she would address another topic.

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary


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.

My thoughts:

Be Not Far From Me was an intense read that I could not put down. I needed to know what would happen to Ashley – would she survive? And if so, how? The pacing was perfectly pitched as there was not one moment in the novel during which I got bored or my attention strayed.

A change occurs within Ashley as she works on surviving in the forest. She digs deep down into herself and reflects on the reason for her anger as well as her past reactions to the people in her life. She faces some hard truths about herself and makes a few promises to herself on where she will go if she survives the forest. Through Ashley’s experience, the novel suggests the power of Nature and how it can strip a person down to their essence. Nature is seen as something to be respected – as something that can take from a person as well as give something in return.

Be Not Far From Me showcases the strength of a young woman – not only her physical strength but also her inner strength. McGinnis shows that it is a person’s inner strength that can carry someone through many obstacles; that not only is physical strength needed but also the strength that a person has deep down that can help overcome the problems a person can face.

The writing in this novel encourages the reader to feel empathy for the main character. I loved this story of a young woman finding her inner strength and discovering who she is. The story of Ashley finding herself is not told in the traditional sense, but it is one that will resonate with the reader. Be Not Far From Me is a novel perfect for those who enjoy reading survival stories featuring a strong female character.

I give this novel ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This novel was the 12th novel in my book pledge for 2020)

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