Chuckaboo by Christopher Fitzgerald
Sixteen year-old Don Gallagher lives in Savannah, Georgia with his mom and her “friend” nicknamed skin-head. His mom’s behavior has changed drastically since skin-head has moved in with them Don suspects that they both are doing drugs. He and his mom have argued many times about her “friend”‘s presence so he has decided to hit the trail, the Appalachian trail. This novel depicts life on the run and the long distance hiking on the Appalachian trail, the characters and hardships of being a Thru hiker.
The story instantly draws the reader into how Don Gallagher’s trip starts and how Chuckaboo is birthed. The characters are varied and the setting is described so that the reader can picture themselves on the trail with Don/Chuckaboo. The author does a great job moving the story forward through the trail and the relationships formed on the trail. Many of the obstacles that Don/Chuckaboo have to overcome are realistic and told in such a way that if the reader has ever been on the trail, known someone or even visited the Great Smoky Mountains and diverged off the beaten path can identify with the struggles and scenery. Give this to a teen that loves coming of age stories or who loved Gary Paulson’s hatchet as a younger teen.
Note: I was given an electronic copy via Net Galley and the publisher, Chris Fitzgerald for an honest review.