The Art of Holding on and Letting Go

Kristin Bartley Lenz. Elephant Rock (IPG, dist.), $12.95 trade paper (262p) ISBN 978-0-9968649-1-6
Debut author Lenz offers a thoughtful meditation on life after loss with the story of 15-year-old Cara Jenkins, a competitive climber. At a competition in Ecuador, Cara learns of a volcanic eruption near Mount Chimborazo, imperiling her parents and her Uncle Max, renowned mountaineers. With her parents safe but distraught and Uncle Max missing, Cara is sent to live with her grandparents in Michigan. Formally homeschooled, Cara adjusts to high school life, making friends with goths Kaitlyn and Nick, who are both struggling with their own traumas. With new friendships, a stronger appreciation for her grandparents, possible romance, and mysterious notes urging her to start climbing again, Cara heals even as her parents remain in Ecuador, determined to continue in Max’s honor. Lenz effortlessly explains complicated climbing terminology and intermixes moments of levity with contemplative quotations from naturalists and mountain climbers, quotes that Cara’s father uses to communicate with her. Though Cara’s ability to face her fears and help others do the same is noteworthy, the tidy ending doesn’t quite do justice to the complexity of Cara’s character and situation. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/27/2016
Release date: 09/01/2016
Genre: Children's
MP3 CD - 978-1-5366-9646-2
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