Facing the Mountain by Wendy Orr

Facing the Mountain coverRaven is all alone. When she and Lily set out with Scott this morning, the plan was for the girls’ new stepfather to show them the mountains that he loved — you know, bond a bit. But when Raven reached the top first, her happy dance started a small avalanche that changed the face of the mountain and trapped Lily and Scott behind a huge pile of rocks. It’s up to Raven — with a filter bottle and a can of bear spray, and without her glasses — to find her way down the mountain to get help.

Raven’s journey is a tough one, to be sure. Over the course of two days (the novel is told in time-stamped chapters that do a great job of maintaining the sense of urgency), Raven finds and loses paths, goes over a waterfall, breaks into a house, and develops a cautious understanding with a mother bear. But the search for help is only half the story. Along the way, readers share Raven’s loneliness and courage, discover with her how much she loves Lily and Scott, and watch her begin to find the self that until now has nestled quietly in the shadows of the bolder personalities around her.

Orr’s writing has a richness of detail and emotional complexity that draws the reader right into her stories. Facing the Mountain is a small book — less than 150 pages — but the experience is a memorable one. Highly recommended for any reader looking for a believable adventure/survival story with solid character development.

Check out other reviews from CM Magazine and Ruby Rainbow Review (under the book’s Australian title, Raven’s Mountain).

Read an interview with Wendy Orr at A Tapestry of Words, or a guest post at Moonlight Gleam’s Bookshelf in which Orr talks about how Facing the Mountain came to be.

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