Title: LILY’S MOUNTAIN
Author: Hannah Moderow
Publisher: HMH Books For Young Readers
ARC?: Yes, provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
TW/CW: Death of a parent (non-descriptive)
Lily refuses to believe what everyone else accepts to be true: that her father has died while climbing Denali, the highest mountain in North America. Lily has grown up hiking in the Alaskan wilderness with her dad. He’s an expert climber. There’s no way he would let something like this happen. So instead of grieving, Lily decides to rescue him. Her plan takes her to Denali and on a journey that tests her physically and emotionally.
In this powerful debut, Hannah Moderow has written an authentic Alaskan adventure that crosses terrain both beautiful and haunting—and ultimately shows the bond of family and the wonder of wild places.
I actually requested this book without knowing anything about it. Put a mountain on the cover of a book and I am probably going to want to read it. I went in thinking this was going to be just another hiking adventure novel but was pleasantly surprised at how much this book made me feel.
Lily’s dad is an experienced hiker and mountain climber, so when he leaves to climb Denali again, Lily never imagines it will be the last time she sees him. When the news reaches the family that there has been an accident, one that her dad didn’t survive, Lily can’t believe that everyone is so quick to think that her dad is gone. Lily is convinced that her dad managed to survive a fall into a crevasse on the mountain and is just waiting for someone to come rescue him. She convinces her mom to let her and her older sister go to the base of Denali and camp, something the family regularly does, but Lily has more planned than just camping. The two sisters make the trek up the mountain to where the accident occurred.
When I first started reading this, I was convinced that this was going to be a book where Lily ended up being right and helps save her dad. It’s not very realistic but we’ve all read those books. Instead, LILY’S MOUNTAIN delivers a powerful punch and lesson on grieving and acceptance. It’s one of the first books I’ve ever read that has let a child character come to terms with loss in their own way. For Lily, she doesn’t believe her dad couldn’t survive until she sees the crevasse where he fell. Lily isn’t the only one who gets some closure in this book. Her older sister had a fight with their dad right before he left and the last thing she said to him was “I hate you.” Over the course of the book, Sophie gets to come to terms with her own grief and make peace with herself.
While this book handles a pretty heavy subject, I think it’s an amazing book for kids AND adults. Would definitely recommend this one to anyone who likes mountains, family ties, and a realistic ending.