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  A New Young Adult Novel by One of the Masters of the Genre

FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL READERS from Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

“Sometimes I think I’ve been waiting for that crash my whole life,” Andy muses when his drunken father nearly crushes him with the family car. The moment sums up 15-year-old Andy’s life with his dysfunctional family. When his father is involved in another accident, he pressures fledgling driver Andy to take responsibility, heightening his son’s mental anguish. Having heard of the Aboriginal practice of a walkabout, Andy chooses to pit himself against the Wisconsin wilderness, calling his journey a walkaway—a walkabout with purpose. Methodically, Carter reveals that Andy became catatonic after an earlier episode with his father and how, alone and unmedicated, his behavior becomes every bit as aberrant as his father’s binges, in a realistic depiction of the complicated co-dependent relationship between alcoholic father and child.... The interactions between Andy and his addicted father are achingly authentic, providing a painful yet hopeful glimpse into the volatile life of an addict and his son. (Fiction. 12 & up) --Kirkus Review

From the book jacket:

    Andy is fed up with his dysfunctional family’s impossible problems: his father’s alcoholism, his mother’s avoidance tactics, his older brother’s condescension. He’s walking away from it all--physically, into the wilderness of the Wisconsin woods, mentally, into the dark reaches of his own mind. Andy confronts the challenges of survival in the rugged terrain, battles illness and the elements, and successfully eludes his pursuers; but he cannot flee from his own emotional demons.
   This gripping portrait of a troubled young man’s desperate attempt to escape from his problems is a harrowing survival adventure filled with drama and suspense, and laced with dark humor....

    Alden Carter, who spent much of his childhood in northern Wisconsin, where Walkaway is set, wrote the novel “to carry out in fiction a fantasy I had as a teenager. Like most young people from troubled families, I dreamed of escaping to live on my own in some ideal place. In my case, I fantasized about living in the wilderness. I knew it wasn’t a very practical idea, but it helped me get to sleep on many nights. Eventually, life provided better answers to the problems I longed to escape. Still, I wonder sometimes how it might have been had I--to use Andy’s term--gone on a ‘walkaway.’”


From noted reviewer Cooper Renner.

       Where Gary Paulsen might have made this a novel of a successful survival in such a life, Carter delves into a far more likely scenario: a young man's immaturity and inability to make life-changing decisions. Andy is a likable, but deeply flawed, character whom young readers are likely first to identify with and then to be fearful for, as Carter brings Andy's problems to the fore. Andy's narration is frank, gruff and sometimes crude, in the way of 15-year-old boys, and this novel is not for readers who want easy resolutions and rainbows at the end of every cloud, but for those unafraid to deal with serious issues. A serious and mature work.  (Four stars on Amazon.)


From Holiday House

ISBN-13: 978-0-8234-2106-0
ISBN-10: 0-8234-2106-6



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