Kerry Cerra's Reviews > Nature Girl

Nature Girl by Jane       Kelley
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Jun 27, 10

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Read in May, 2010

Eleven-year-old Megan could care less that her best friend Lucy’s Mom is sick with cancer besides at least it’s “the good kind.” Megan only cares that Lucy is going to spend the summer in Massachusetts with her own mom rather than Vermont with Megan like they had planned. And, Megan never wanted to go to Vermont to begin with. Lucy was the only reason it might have been bearable. Everyone knows that Vermont is full of lakes oozing with slime, trees by the bazillions, and bugs…lots and lots of bugs . On top of it, Megan’s parents have banned her from all things modern and have even imposed a mandatory three hours a day ART time. Seriously.
After moping around for the first few weeks, Megan’s parents force her to get out of the farmhouse and go on a hike with her evil sister Ginia and Ginia’s boyfriend. Pure torture! When Megan interrupts a gross make-out session between her two hike-wardens, Ginia screams at Megan and tells her that Lucy never even wanted to come to Vermont because to begin with because all Megan does it lie around and mope. Megan is about to burst as the words pierce through her and she sprints off into the woods with her dog Arp.
Hours later, Megan knows she’s lost, but when she stumbles upon a couple on a trail arguing over Oreos, she actually gets excited to hear them mention Mount Greylock. Yes, Mount Greylock, Massachusetts…where Lucy is spending her summer. Megan decides that she needs to talk to Lucy like immediately to make sure she’s not really mad as Ginia claims. I mean, how can she be mad. Megan never really did anything, did she? And so, the girl who hates all things nature sets off on a trek across the Appalachian Trail with her dog and a few things Mom had packed for her day-hike.
Along the way, Megan does her best to squelch that negative voice that constantly pops in her head saying that she’s lazy and can’t do anything right. She learns to fend for herself with nature, triumphs over an encounter with a bear, rescues Arp when he falls into a crevice between some boulders, but most of all, she realizes she really hasn’t been a very good friend, daughter, or sister at all. With each new step on the trail, Nature Girl Megan gains confidence and her journey turns into a “Hodgkin’s Hike” in honor of her BFF’s mom. With plenty of chances to be rescued, Megan knows Trail Blaze Betty’s advice is right…the only way to fail is to quit, and she’s not about to do either.
This is Jane Kelly’s debut novel. She’s created a story that will make you laugh-out-loud with Megan’s self-absorbedness, fall in love with the Appalachian Trail due to her vivid descriptions, and most of all, cheer for Megan as she inches closer to Mount Greylock with a new understanding of herself.
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