Saturday, August 12, 2017

REVIEW: Tracker's Canyon

Tracker's Canyon
Author: Pam Withers

Tristan Gordon did everything with his dad -- hiking, climbing, swimming, tracking -- just about any outdoor adventuring activity they mastered and loved. But, one day eight months ago, his father disappeared in Swallow Canyon. Searches were conducted but no body was ever discovered. The insurance company won't pay out without proof of his father's death, and Tristan's mother sinks deeper and deeper into depression and mental illness. Depending on the generosity of an uncle to keep them afloat, Tristan juggles school and trying to help his mother. He resents the presence of their new age obsessed housekeeper, who also is the caregiver for his mother while he's at school. He wishes the money his uncle spends on her salary could be used for groceries and more important things than the weird spiritual mumbo-jumbo she uses to calm his mother.

Tristan feels called to track his father in Swallow Canyon to find out what happened. But he knows that just the mention of him going climbing into a canyon will be enough to tip his mother over the edge.

After months of avoiding canyoneering, Tristan gets invited on a trip down into the upper portion of Swallow Canyon. The group is being led by a 19 year old girl, the new guide for a local adventuring company. He enjoys his day out, but wonders why he was invited on the trip.

The housekeeper, Elspeth, keeps telling him that he needs to go down into the canyon and retrieve something, anything that belonged to his father. She says a token from his dad is all it will take to bring his mom out of the fog and back into living. As they run out of money and other options, Tristan realizes that he needs to venture into Swallow Canyon to find answers about what happened to his father. But what will he find? And will it really help his mom?

This book is a quick, exciting read! Perfect for middle-grade to adult readers. There is a little bit of language, but nothing that bad. Nothing any teenager wouldn't say in the same situation. The adventuring, canyoneering theme is really interesting and suspenseful. The plot also delves into the confusion and life-altering effects of mental illness, grief and loss. Tristan is just a kid, but he's dealing with so much trying to keep his mother going while worrying about buying groceries and keeping their family going. It's an adventure story and a coming of age tale.

A lovely book! I got pulled into the story quickly and didn't want to stop reading! The story is well written, moves along at a perfect pace and has enough suspense to hold a reader's interest.

Great book for kids and adults alike (I'm nearly 50 years old and I loved the story!), especially those who like the outdoors and adventuring! It really made me want to put on my hiking books and hit the trails here in western NC!

Pam Withers has written 18 adventuring books for young readers. She lives in Vancouver. For more information on the author and her other books, check out her website:

**I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from Dundurn Press via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

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