This is Aspen Matis’ memoir of the months she spent finding her strength, and who she truly is while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail….2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada.
Debby Parker, Aspen’s name before she began her trek , grew up with loving and caring parents….both Harvard Law Graduates. She grew up in Massachusetts in a happy town with two older brothers….life seemed good. Yet her mother was quite overprotective of her and did not allow her much space or freedom to make her own choices and take care of herself. This is what lead Debby to enrolling in college in Colorado….to live on her own and so far away. On her second night at college, she is raped. The rape is not acknowledged by the college and Debby began to feel the rape was her fault. She lost her confidence and feared for who she truly was. With her parents blessing and money, she quits school and heads onto the PCT for a life-changing experience.
I could not stop reading her story….her strength, her fears, her sadness, her self-doubt, and eventually her rebirth. Such a great read! It makes me want to explore the PCT….maybe not all 2, 650 miles of it….but maybe a week or so on the trail.
Quinn Perkins is a 17 year-old American exchange student living in a small, run-down town in France with her host family. This host family is somewhat dysfunctional…the father has mysteriously disappeared and has not been seen for years. The mother was once the headmistress at the local school, but she has lost her position and the school has closed after the suspicious death of one of the students. There is an older brother who is away at school who suddenly returns. He is charming and handsome and captivates Quinn’s attention. Lastly, there is her host sister who is aloof and fragile….almost scared, but what has her acting so bizarre?
The American Girl starts with Quinn running through the woods and into the street where she is hit by a car. She ends up in the hospital in a coma, and when she awakes she cannot remember anything. No family comes to visit her, and her entire host family is now missing. The story hits the news after a couple caught the hit and run accident on video and uploaded it to YouTube. Suddenly, journalists from all over are desperate to get a hold of this sensational story. Only one succeeds: Molly Swift who pretends to be Quinn’s American aunt.
The action in the story is quick and full of suspense….it bounces between Quinn’s hidden computer blog and her video confessions while tracking the events as they are playing out in the present. Quinn quickly becomes a suspect, but Molly believes there is so much more going on in this small town than anyone could imagine.