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This moving story had me intrigued and asking questions straight away; who are Carly and Jen, why are they walking such a long way, just the two of them, so young? What has happened? Who is Teddy and why is Carly so determined that he is the one to help them?

Sisters Carly, 16, and Jen, 12, have set off from New Mexico and are trying to get to Teddy in California. They soon become hungry and tired, and it becomes increasingly difficult for them to continue and to stay safe and not risk it being discovered that they are on the run alone together; the threat of being taken in by the authorities and potentially separated keeps them walking and reluctant to reveal the reality of their situation to anyone.

Then the novel takes a step back further in time, a few months earlier, and we meet Teddy, their mother's ex-boyfriend, and we meet the girls' mother, and their recent past slowly reveals itself. The sisters have had a difficult, unsettled childhood and experienced much disappointment; and now their world has been turned upside down. They travel so many miles, struggling along together, desperate and starving at times, and as I read, I feared for them, but I was also heartened by the kindnesses that they encountered from people too.

It is primarily Carly whose thoughts we follow, and it's a very emotional as well as physical endurance test that she goes through on her journey. It is very clear that she has lost her trust in others and lost her belief in her self, and her self worth; she has convinced herself that she doesn't matter and that 'everyone likes Jen better'. As I read, I willed things to change for the better for Carly because she had been so strong, I didn't blame her for having lost trust in people because of her past treatment, but she needed to take the risk of trusting again; the story illustrates how sometimes we have a new, unexpected chance for happiness in life and it is the ability to let go of fear and accept this chance, to take the risk of trusting again, that we need. This was such an important theme running through this story; who can the girls trust and believe in, who has their real interests and welfare at heart, who isn't all that they seem to be, and who cares more than they realise.

I've really enjoyed novels by Catherine Ryan Hyde in the past and I found in this new book the same warm-hearted and honest portrayal of people who find themselves facing the challenge of coping with huge difficulties and setbacks in their lives that I have admired before. She creates rounded characters, and the relationships they share feel very real; I cared about the sisters. The author has sensitively and thoughtfully incorporated a little of Native American culture into this story, and created two special characters in particular that I would love to meet. The sense of place was well conveyed, and this setting was important too, the intense heat of the desert landscape adding to the struggle as the girls were walking.

I liked the author's note at the end of the book that clarified an aspect of the story that I had wondered about whilst reading. I think this novel would be really enjoyed by young adult and adult readers.

I felt this was an engrossing, well-paced story about being honest with yourself and having to admit to the truth, and learning to accept kindness from unexpected places. It is about loss, loyalty, truth, courage, and the hard decisions people have to make, the strength we have to find sometimes even when we are only a young age.
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on 26 July 2013
I love Catherine Ryan Hyde. Her novels are so accomplished, so readable, with absolutely amazing plots that no other author could do justice to. Second Hand Heart, When I Found You, Don't Let Me Go are all amazing novels. So whenever a new Catherine Ryan Hyde is released, it's a must-buy for me. I appear to have not read her release last year, When You Were Older, but that will be sharply fixed, and when I got a copy of her new one Walk Me Home, I started it as soon as I'd cleared anything else I had to review, because I just couldn't wait to read it.

Walk Me Home is yet another triumphant Catherine Ryan Hyde novel. It has all the hallmarks of a Catherine Ryan Hyde novel, and I was captivate by Carly and Jen, who after a devastating tragedy, are walking from New Mexico to California in a bid to get to their step-dad Teddy. That in itself is heartbreaking, that two young girls (13 and 16) are having to walk, by themselves, through Arizona in the baking heat with barely any other people around, in a bid to not be seen or captured and sent to foster care. Carly knows that if they can reach California, reach Teddy, then they'll be OK, their life will be a bit better, but Jen has a secret, and it's something that's going to blow Carly's life to bits.

What I think Catherine Ryan Hyde does best is she takes a small community of people - a group of misfits, or a group you wouldn't normally give two figs about - and makes you care about them. In Don't Let Me Go that was shown to its fullest potential, as Gracie was taken care of by so many kind people, and that shows itself again in Walk Me Home, after the girls are caught trying to steal eggs from a lady's henhouse. That lady is Dolores, and she's part of the Wakapi tribe, and she isn't too happy to have two girls trying to steal from her and tells them they can spend a week at her house, working off their debt. Carly's skittish about Dolores, and acts quite tough, but Jen seems to find Dolores soothing, and doesn't seem to want to leave. The Wakapi tribe aren't a real tribe, as Catherine explains in her Author Letter at the end of the novel, but I can see where she was coming from, and I always find tribes and groups of people like that to be so warm and welcoming, they're always so open and kind, and I liked the values of the Wakapi tribe. How Alvin, the local police officer, was more than happy to help Carly out with trips to the town to use the phone, and who wasn't all about getting them handed over to a nameless social worker.

I really, really enjoyed Walk Me Home, it hit home really hard, and I felt so sad for Jen and Carly and their mental strength to trek days and days in vast, empty spaces must have been really, really strong. I could never do something like that, I'd have given up and died, lemme tell you. I admired the girls' relationship, so much. In situations like that, you really have no choice but to stick together but it was more than that and you could tell Jen and Carly were always so close. This was just a wonderful read, with another cast of characters you'll easily fall in love with. I can't wait for Catherine's next book, she's such an amazing writer and I always devour her books way too quickly, I definitely recommend the book; I always do for Catherine's books because they are so amazing and she deserves so much credit for being such a wonderful writer.
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on 8 December 2014
I really enjoyed this. The differences between the two sisters were very apparent and I really warmed to Jen, the youngest of the two. I felt panic, fear and helpless *for* the two characters aswell as comfort and relief when things went their way. I loved that it touched on the native american lifestyle too. This was a very unique read and I am looking forward to reading more of Catherine Ryan Hyde. I have read reviews that mention her being like Jodi Picoult in style and I am yet to see that myself - but enjoy her all the same.
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I was so excited to get this book in ARC from the publishers, I even messaged Catherine on Good Reads to tell her! I love this author and have read almost all of her books. A friend online who shares the same taste in books as I do encouraged me to read one of her. I did. Thought, not bad, really enjoyed it, so I went on to read another then another........;

This is about 2 sisters, they find themselves having to leave home. I don't like giving much of the stories away on books I read as I feel it spoils it sometimes for others. I can say, that on reflection as I finished this book this book today I thought of the times we take things for granted, or question the motives of our nearest and dearest and think we know best. These two children taught me this is not the case in life. And not everyone is who they seem to be. Only what they want to appear to be.

I hope I've whet your appetite for when this novel is released in September of this year [2013]

GREAT BOOK Catherine Ryan Hyde.
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on 6 June 2014
Two young girls who lost their mother try to find their mom's boyfriend with a hope that he will take them in. they try hard to stay away of troubles but with no money and no help they suffer a lot.
It is always good to read Ms.Rayan's books.They have their own delicacy and sadness hidden inside. They touch your heart. It was so slow in some parts and I had an urge to skim few pages on and on. This is not the author's best book though.
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on 26 July 2013
In the past I have read and enjoyed Pay It Forward, one of Catherine Ryan Hyde's previous novels. Her work is held in high regard and I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to review Walk Me Home.

Sisters Carly and Jen feel they have no option but to run when their mother dies. Worried they will be taken into care and separated, the girls set off on a long and arduous journey to find Teddy, the one person Carly really trusts. However, Jen is less sure about what is the best thing to do and exhaustion and lack of money takes its toll on the sisters relationship. Will they make it to Teddy alive and well? And if they do, will the faith Carly has in him to be their saviour become a reality?

I've read quite a few 'walking' books recently- The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce... I do like the premise of a journey being an escape, an opportunity for self discovery, a humbling experience that makes us seem small compared to the world at large.

I found Walk Me Home really gripping to begin with, yet I felt the middle section was a bit too long and not as action packed as I'd have liked for a book of this length. I didn't warm to either Carly or Jen as characters, which meant I felt detached from them for most of the book and wasn't overly bothered about what happened to them. However, I thought the scene setting was great, and especially enjoyed meeting the wide variety of people the sisters encounter on their journey- these characters were interesting and diverse, much moreso than the protagonists.

Overall, Walk Me Home was a thought-provoking read that touches on trust, sisterhood and altruism. Suitable for young adults or adults, it will make you assess whether you can ever wholly trust anyone.

7.5/10
*first published at [...]
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on 12 October 2013
Really enjoyed this book, Catherine Ryan Hyde has a great insight into human nature.
Have enjoyed almost every book she has written.
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on 2 November 2014
Beautifully written story that brought a lot of emotions up. Made me feel warm as well and a book hard to put down.
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