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Mountain #2

On the Far Side of the Mountain

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Two years ago, Sam ran away from New York City to live in the Catskill Mountains. Now his younger sister Alice has joined him and is quietly living in a tree house of her own nearby. Their peaceful life is shattered when a conservation officer confiscates Sam’s falcon, Frightful, and Alice suddenly vanishes. Sam leaves his home to search for Alice, hoping to find Frightful, too. But the trail to the far side of the mountain may lead Sam into great danger. “Surpasses the original in style and substance . . . This story [is] a jewel.”

“George has outdone herself here.”
—Kirkus Reviews

176 pages, Paperback

First published April 30, 1990

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About the author

Jean Craighead George

194 books1,088 followers
Jean Craighead George wrote over eighty popular books for young adults, including the Newbery Medal-winning Julie of the Wolves and the Newbery Honor book My Side of the Mountain. Most of her books deal with topics related to the environment and the natural world. While she mostly wrote children's fiction, she also wrote at least two guides to cooking with wild foods, and an autobiography, Journey Inward.

The mother of three children, (Twig C. George, Craig, and T. Luke George) Jean George was a grandmother who joyfully read to her grandchildren since the time they were born. Over the years Jean George kept one hundred and seventy-three pets, not including dogs and cats, in her home in Chappaqua, New York. "Most of these wild animals depart in autumn when the sun changes their behaviour and they feel the urge to migrate or go off alone. While they are with us, however, they become characters in my books, articles, and stories."

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5 stars
3,012 (31%)
4 stars
3,542 (36%)
3 stars
2,514 (26%)
2 stars
471 (4%)
1 star
92 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 394 reviews
Profile Image for Rebekah.
Author 5 books46 followers
October 11, 2016
A brilliant younger sister leads her brother on a wild goose chase just for fun while he is worried sick about her trying to survive like he had done (his story in the first book of this series).
This story is the shortest of the three, but I loved the siblings relationship with each other. The author did an excellent job keeping the story line unique to itself and different from the first book in the series. Not quite as good as the first book, but so close that I had to give it five stars too. :)
4,863 reviews53 followers
June 18, 2022
Two years after the events of the first book, a government agent comes to the mountain to confiscate Sam's falcon, for their own good, of course. Then Sam's sister disappears. For her own good too?

Considered a minor classic, this could never be written today.
13 reviews3 followers
October 6, 2014
On the Far Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, is about a teenage boy that goes off into the woods and lives a life away from modern civilization. In this book Sam’s sister joins him in the wild. Alice builds a tree house then she runs away from her brother. Sam uses his resources to hopefully find her. All and all, this book is a great about survival in the woods and to me has a classic style.
Profile Image for Blair.
113 reviews44 followers
October 16, 2019
Having read this because I needed a short read to finish so that I wouldn't have to take it on my trip and also because it was recommended to me years ago, I suppose this wasn't too bad. I'm pretty far from the intended age group, but if I had read it when I was supposed to, (in fourth grade), I would have loved it.
Profile Image for Sarah Moore.
51 reviews
May 25, 2023
So good. Even better than the first. The plot comes together so well and is so tight and the character growth just striking and endearing.
Also, I think Alice is a pretty ideal representation of a strong but thoroughly female female.
Profile Image for Trevor Wetzel.
26 reviews1 follower
January 9, 2014
“On the Far Side of the Mountain” by Jean Craighead George, is about a teenage boy, Sam Gribley, who lives in the wilderness with his sister, Alice. Sam and Alice live their everyday lives hunting, gathering and building structures to keep their lives livable. But, one day Sam can not find Alice anywhere and eventually finds a clue from her showing which way she has gone. Sam meets up with his friend, Bando, and the two venture off in search of Alice. Sam and Bando find many more of Alice’s clues and meet many people on their way. Alice has turned it into a game. Sam and Bando finally catch up with Alice in the Catskill Mountains, where she is attempting to get a baby Falcon out of it’s nest while being attacked by the adult falcon. They eventually get Alice to come down out of the tree and they start on their way back to their home.

The main characters of this book are Sam and Alice. Sam is a teenager who has left the city to live in the wilderness. He excels when it comes to problem solving and completing a task. He is an intelligent young man. Alice is a younger girl that likes to have a lot of fun and put Sam through trouble. She isn’t scared of anything and she takes a lot of risks. The author expresses what each of the characters are thinking extremely well throughout the entire book.

I would guess that this story takes place during the 1990’s. At the rare times where Sam goes into the city, the city doesn’t seem to be like modern times. Almost the entire story takes place in the woods, on “Sam’s Mountain.” The author does a great job describing the atmosphere of the woods at times and what is happening.

I would recommend this book to any reader that enjoys stories involving wilderness and survival. Any reader at a middle school level or higher should be able to read this book. I was very pleased with this story and how it was written.
Profile Image for Kaylee.
310 reviews34 followers
July 3, 2019
The story was excellent. I also liked the descriptions of animal behavior that's woven into the story. Such as:

She [Frightful, Sam's falcon] responds by lifting the feathers on her body, then shaking them. This is called rousing, which is feather talk meaning "I like you."

At peace with me and herself, she bobs her head as she follows the flight of a bird. I cannot see it, but I know it's a bird because Frightful's feathers tell me so. She has flattened most of them to her body while lifting those between her shoulders. "Bird," that means.

The narrative itself was great. I liked seeing Sam take on a more mature worldview. At the beginning, he thought his sister Alice was selfish, and never realized the hypocrisy of that view; Sam had built himself a life where everything was the way HE wanted it, and he didn't want anyone messing with that by bringing their own needs and wants into his private little world. So, he started out kind of selfish, resistant to change, and dismissive of human society. But his sister's wonderful selfless gift, a smart girl's smile, and some advice from caring adults cause him to re-evaluate his priorities.

This was a wonderful sequel to My Side of the Mountain. Far Side had a very satisfying ending which could have concluded the series very nicely, but there's still one more book in the series. I can't wait to read Frightful's Mountain, after this!
Profile Image for Karyl.
1,717 reviews119 followers
December 1, 2012
This book suffers from the same stylistic error that the first one does, in that the story picks up in the middle and then backtracks through journal entries. I find it a very jarring way to tell a story. Also this one almost had too much detail about the building of various amenities that Sam has devised over the two years he has lived on the mountain. I did not enjoy it as much as I did the first one, but it is still worth reading.
Profile Image for Brock.
64 reviews333 followers
August 7, 2015
I know I'm not the age demographic for this novel but the title could have been "They went for a hike and nothing bad happened."
Profile Image for Alise.
40 reviews
November 6, 2020
Not as good as the first book, but it was still pretty good.
Profile Image for Ripken.
60 reviews
September 25, 2015
This book was pretty good and it had twist and turns that my heart pumped very fast during moments.

There was a lot of things I loved about this book and sad. The top thing I loved is how Alice lives with Sam until she goes on her own adventure. I also love how Alice has her own home which is a tree house. My last thing that I loved is how Alice thought it was fun for Sam trying to find her and Sam was scared to death about Alice. I learned that hac means to breed endangered animals .

This book was really good although I wish Sam called for Frightful at the end to keep her.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Maddy.
444 reviews17 followers
April 9, 2018
Not my cup of tea. Loved the survival details, wasn't compelled by the storyline.
22 reviews7 followers
June 24, 2019
i think a theme is courage because in the book he had to give his falcon he raised to a wild life rehabilitation center. He also has to survive in the wild with his sister
Profile Image for Kailey (Luminous Libro).
2,900 reviews445 followers
September 18, 2017
Sam and his sister Alice are living alone on the mountain, away from the turmoil of civilization. They hike and fish and forage for forest berries and roots, and of course Sam has his falcon, Frightful, to do the hunting. But their peaceful life is thrown into chaos when Frightful is confiscated by government conservation authorities, and Alice disappears into the forest with her pet pig. Sam, heartbroken over the loss of his bird, must lay aside his grief in order to track down his little sister through the treacherous Catskill Mountains.

I loved reading about how Sam and Alice build a plumping mill to make acorn flour, and how they built a dam by watching the beavers. All the little details of their forest life are so interesting and well-described!

The writing style is concise and careful, using very few words to describe a whole scene and using expressive words to bring an emotional connection. I really love the simple but poignant style.

There was a little bit of a structure problem in the beginning of the book with an exorbitant amount of flashbacks. Sam is so worried about Frightful that he reads through his old journal entries to calm himself down, and so we get all these flashbacks through his journal. It broke up the pace of the story, and did not flow well. But by the middle of the book, we are done with flashbacks, Sam is in the middle of the action, and the plot moves forward without all the explanations that slow it down at first.

I was captivated with the plot and how the ending resolved itself. It really kept me guessing all through the book.... Where is Alice? Why did she really run off? What happened to Frightful? Who really took Frightful away? So many great questions that push the story forward, and come to a satisfying conclusion.

I can't wait to finish this trilogy! Anyone who loves nature would fall in love with these books. I'm not a woodsy person at all, but I enjoy them immensely!
10 reviews1 follower
May 20, 2019
Student Name: Quinn Dittmann Date Submitted: April 26th
Book Title: On the Far Side of the Mountain Lexile:630

Personal Response: Personally, this was definitely one of the best books I've ever read. I'm the outdoorsy type, and that's exactly what this book was. There was always something going on in this book which made it active and very fun to read.

Plot Summary: This story took place in the wilderness. Sam and his sister Alice were sick and tired of living in the city and just wanted to leave. While living in the wilderness, Sam had a pet bird named Frightful. Frightful would hunt and kill food so Sam had something to eat. Early in the book, a conservation officer came to Sam’s tree house and took the bird from him. Sam did all he could to try and get his bird back. He never did end up getting his bird. Soon after this happened, his sister Alice disappeared into the mountains on a journey. Sam had no clue at all where his sister would be off to. He followed his sister's tracks and clues she left behind so he could possibly track her down. After a long trek, Sam soon caught up to his sister Alice. They then went back to their treehouses to live in peace.

Recommendation: I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves the outdoors. This book has hunting, fishing, and any other outdoorsy thing you can think of. Also if you love an active book, this book is for you.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
1,614 reviews74 followers
November 8, 2021
I'm pretty far from the intended age group, but if I had read it when I was supposed to, (in fourth grade), I would have loved it. It’s not as good as the first book in the series, but I’m glad I experienced it.
Jess Woodman was the narrator for the audiobook version of this novel, and he was excellent.

3 stars.
Profile Image for P.S. Winn.
Author 75 books345 followers
October 7, 2017
In book one, Sam ran away from New York City. He started a new life in the Catskill Mountains. In this story, his younger sister Alice has joined him. She lives in a tree house of her own nearby. The two find danger and adventure when the forest service and government don't want them there.
Profile Image for Danielle.
671 reviews
October 14, 2017
Read this with my seventh grade student. He enjoyed it. It's very different from the first in that Sam is no longer a solo mountain man. He's had family come and build lots of structures, gardens, etc. His sister has a treehouse. I appreciate Sam's evolution regarding captive birds of prey, but I'm glad to be done reading about fishing using deer tendons.
Profile Image for Aaron.W.
28 reviews4 followers
December 10, 2018
loved this book great story and moves along at good pace. I would reck amend this book to anyone that has read the 1st book and wants to know what happens after the family joins him.
Profile Image for Jodi Escalante.
145 reviews4 followers
April 13, 2021
A very short read (or listen in my case). I’d read this to my kids following My Side of the Mountain. Some of the wilderness inventions thus rime around would be over their heads, but I think they would enjoy the scavenger hunt feel.
Profile Image for Sue.
943 reviews2 followers
May 31, 2021
Another great story with independent young kids thriving in nature. I loved the kind of quest and suspense elements, and of course the little sister! She is just as adventurous as her brother.
61 reviews
May 6, 2022
Nostalgia P.3. I'm done now. I could go down this rabbit hole forever
Profile Image for Ricardo Acevedo.
2 reviews2 followers
May 13, 2019
the story of the book was a fun idea that left me satisfied. My only problem with the Book is the flash backs in Sam's journal kinda took away from the story.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 394 reviews

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