About the Book
Author: M. Liz Boyle
Genre: Christian YA
September 27, 2019
When fifteen-year-old Marlee Stanley joins her two sisters and the sons of their family friends on a secretive hike in the middle of the night, she is thrilled and nervous. Battling her conscience, she prays that the hike will go flawlessly and that they will return to the safety of their campsite before their parents wake. The start of the hike is beautiful and wonderfully memorable.
In a white flash so fast that Marlee can barely comprehend what has happened, an avalanche crashes into their path. Buried in packed snow, Marlee is forced to remember survival tips learned from her dad and her own research.
This group of friends, ages eleven through seventeen, is about to endure bigger challenges than many adults have experienced. Digging out of the packed snow is only the first of many challenges. Injuries, cold, hunger, fatigue, aggressive wildlife and tensions in the group make this a much bigger adventure than they ever imagined. As the kids strive to exhibit Christian values throughout the trials, they learn numerous life lessons. But they are nearly out of food, and their energy is waning quickly. How will they ever reach help?
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About the Author
Liz is an author, the wife of a professional tree climber and the mom of three energetic and laundry-producing children. She received her Associate’s of Arts at the University of Sioux Falls, where she received the LAR Writing Award for her essay entitled, “My Real Life Mufasa.” Liz once spent a summer in Colorado teaching rock climbing, which she believes was a fantastic way to make money and memories. She resides with her family in Wisconsin, where they enjoy hiking and rock climbing. Liz and her husband have also backpacked in Colorado and the Grand Canyon, which have provided inspiration for her writing. She likes making adventurous stories to encourage others to find adventures and expand their comfort zones (though admittedly, she still needs lots of practice expanding her own comfort zone). She has thoroughly enjoyed working on her first novel, Avalanche, and the sequel Chased, which will release in the summer of 2020.
More from Liz
Have you ever been tempted to take a risk even though your conscience was screaming at you? Were you able to justify the pursuit of the thrill, actually convincing yourself that what you knew to be the unwise decision made perfect sense?
I did. So did my sisters. And so did Sawyer and Marshall Miles. When Sawyer first proposed the idea of the moonlit summit on our families’ annual backpacking trip, I was terrified. But I was also hooked. Sawyer convinced us that we would be fine, and we would be back to camp before our parents woke up with the sunrise.
Hearts racing and hands trembling, we five kids snuck away from camp in the middle of the night. Hiking toward the peak, the full moon was breathtaking, the wildlife abundant, and the experience unreal.
It became a whole lot more unreal when an avalanche, roaring, white and enormous, thundered into our path. Buried in the packed snow, I would have given anything to go back in time and change my decision to go along with this foolish idea.
Digging out of the cemented snow was the first of many challenges in the coming days. Physically, emotionally and spiritually, we were all pushed to our limits.
I had always loved hiking Colorado’s peaks. But, of course, I had never had to evacuate my own sister. I had always trusted Dad’s orienteering. Now I had to trust Sawyer, who, by the way, was the brain behind this dilemma. I usually slept best while backpacking. But, mountain nights are warmer when spent in a sleeping bag. But I can’t let my mind go there. I must keep a positive outlook and trust God to bring us to safety. That’s easier said than done.
Avalanche is a Christian teen and young adult novel. This engaging journey, told by fifteen-year-old Marlee Stanley, captures a timeless sense of adventure. The five young adults strive to exhibit godly character throughout their escapade, but they have not been in such a dire situation before. It will take immense strength and cooperation to hike out of this mess.
The first book in the Off the Itinerary series, M. Liz Boyle’s “Avalanche” may be written for a young adult audience, but with its adventuresome approach it will appeal to readers of all ages. This is exactly the type of book that I sought out when I was younger, and I still enjoyed it, despite now being an adult. Not only does it impart godly wisdom, but it does so in a real-life manner that younger readers will understand and be able to apply to their own lives. The characters are all steadfast in their Christian faith, which sees them through the trials that they face, and I appreciate the fact that the author does not portray them as saints but rather allows the reader to experience their weaknesses and mistakes. The story is narrated in the first person by 15-year-old Marlee Stanley, who is on a secret overnight hike with her sisters Ellie and Lydie and their friends, Sawyer and Marshall Miles. When they are caught in an avalanche, their fun turns into a battle for survival.
“Avalanche” surprised me with its depth. Boyle writes to a young audience, and she keeps the story simple enough to be easily understood, all the while adding in details that make it a learning experience. I think that this book would be a great option for reluctant readers for this reason. Boyle also displays keen insight into teenage behavior and adolescence, when kids are beginning to become aware of the opposite sex. The hiking and wilderness survival skills are fascinating, and there is a small glossary at the end of the book for a few of the terms that may be unfamiliar to readers. I certainly learned a lot! In my opinion, though, the best part of this story is the strong faith element. Each character demonstrates a stalwart faith in God, even in the face of disaster and even though they are afraid. This is what makes this a 5-star read for me, as the kids battle against despair and negativity yet still cling to prayer and encourage each other. It would be easy for this to come across as sanctimonious and false, yet it doesn’t because Boyle shows readers how the characters truly struggle to maintain a resolute faith. The beautiful part of it is that we all experience the same conflict at one time or another, and when we hold fast to God and put the needs of others above our own, we can know that He is working within us and fighting for us. As Marlee comments, “Each moment is an opportunity to achieve greatness with God.”
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
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Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 11
For the Love of Literature, May 12
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Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 13
Lukewarm Tea, May 14 (Author Interview)
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Inklings and notions, May 16
For Him and My Family, May 17
deb’s Book Review, May 18
Blossoms and Blessings, May 19 (Author Interview)
Rebecca Tews, May 19
Lots of Helpers, May 20
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 21
Spoken from the Heart, May 22
To celebrate her tour, M. Liz is giving away the grand prize of a gift basket with the items pictured above!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.