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Davis, Jennifer Pharr. Becoming Odyssa: Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail.

3Q * 2P * A/YA Davis, Jennifer Pharr. Becoming Odyssa: Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail. Beaufort, 2010. 320p. $24.95. 978-0-82530649-5.

Older teens questioning what they want to do with their lives will be comforted to realize that the author, as a twenty-one-year-old college graduate, pondered the same questions. Davis notes, "The trail provides a place to sort through the fact and fiction of our childhoods"--certainly a process many teens can relate to, even those who are not into backpacking or hiking. Davis embarked on a spiritual soul-searching quest, taking on the thru-hiker name of Odyssa, as she hiked the 2,175-mile-long Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in 2005. Within the dense descriptions of hiking conditions are snippets of spiritual and personal insights that make wading through the details worthwhile. The self-searching statements such as, "I wanted to retell my story and explain who I was until it made sense," addressing why she wanted to hike alone but meet as many people as possible, are thought provoking. Davis interacted with a wide variety of people on and off the trail during her four-month journey, from those who became friends to the creepy ones she quickly hiked ahead of to avoid. Welcomed or not, these encounters, including discovering a suicide victim in a park pavilion, resulted in further self-discovery. Her spiritual quest as Odyssa pushed the young Davis to her physical breaking point numerous times but resulted in a love of thru-hiking. Davis has since hiked more than 8,000 miles of trails in North America and trekked through six continents.

Although not written for young adult readers, older teens who connect with Davis's spiritual journey may find answers to some of their own questions in these pages.

3Q Readable, without serious defects.

2P For the YA reader with a special interest in the subject.

A/YA Adult marketed book recommended by YAs.

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Author:Clark, Ruth
Publication:Voice of Youth Advocates
Article Type:Book review
Date:Apr 1, 2011
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