Megan is not having a good summer. Instead of being at a house in Vermont with her best friend Lucy, she is at a house in Vermont with her art-loving parents and her boy crazy sister, while Lucy is in Maine with her mom and grandma. The cell phones have been taken away, the T.V. has rabbit ears, and there is mandatory art time every morning! If Lucy were here, everything would be so much better. Megan and Lucy would be laughing about all of this stuff and finding things to do. They certainly would have worked out the differences that they have been sorting through lately if they could just spend the summer together.
But Lucy is not here, and Megan is in full on mope mode. After a fight with her parents, Megan has taken to sighing loudly and staring at the blank screen of the T.V. A week into this behaviour, Megan’s parents decide that since she cannot figure out what to do, they will figure out activities for her, and today she must go hiking with her sister Ginia and local boy Sam through the woods. Her folks are going to Rutland, and Megan and Ginia will be sleeping over at Sam’s parent’s cider mill. The problem is, Megan doesn’t want to go. She knows that all Ginia and Sam want to do is slobber all over each other, and her instinct proves true when a few minutes into the hike, Sam and Ginia disappear. When Megan finally finds them, Ginia throws a hurtful insult at Megan, who promptly turns and runs to try to get rid of the bad feelings that are surging through her body.
When Megan pops out of the woods she looks for the farm house where her family is staying. It’s not there. A moment later her little dog Arp comes along, and Megan tries to figure out what to do. She has no map, no phone and no idea where she is.
Megan heads back into the woods, and finds a marked trail that is way bigger than the one that she was on with Ginia and Sam. She then overhears a couple of hikers arguing about their trek on the Appalachian Trail. Megan has heard of this trail! Now she knows where she is. She also overhears the hikers say that they had been through Mount Greylock! Megan has heard of Mount Greylock too – it’s right near where Lucy is staying with her family.
Megan hatches a plan to hike to Lucy. She knows that once she sees her friend, they can work everything out.
You can imagine what an unprepared girl hiking on a trail from Vermont to Maine could get into, and you’d be partially right! While Megan is pretty much unlikable at the outset of the book, her journey along the trail is more that geographical. With fun secondary characters like Trail Blaze Betty, and the unpredictable outdoors, Jane Kelley has written a book that has depth and fun intermixed. Readers will be hoping that Megan isn’t found along the trail, and that for once in her life she will finish what she starts. Filled with friendship, family and frustration Nature Girl is a perfect summer read.