Switchback by Danika Stone

cheermio's review

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survival story in the mountains with 2 best friends who seem very dissimilar. reading about vale's bullying is super hardcore depressing. people are SUCH flat-out jerks. but, it is a fast paced read mostly with a lot about survival and good storytelling. the lack of romance is also appealing and aro-ace representation is handled well.

Thanks to the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

makenna's review

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poppyg's review

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adventurous funny hopeful lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


morgarelibrare's review

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*Read at work for review for ROYAL*

I had hoped this one would be good, because I liked Danika Stone’s novel, All The Feels, but this book was definitely not for me.

Ash and Vale are best friends who go on a school mandated trip to the woods/mountains that is required for P.E. class in order to graduate. The book starts off badly with a letter from the teacher organizing the trip with rules and regulations for the trip, one stating that there are absolutely no phones or tablets allowed from students. Now, I get that you don’t want the kids to have their faces glued to a screen when they’re supposed to be learning something, but on this particular field trip, it seems irresponsible and reckless to leave the kids without any form of communication. It’s just asking for trouble…so of course trouble comes knocking.

Ash and Vale get separated from their class almost immediately and are forced to survive on their own, navigating the tasks of finding food and water, building a shelter, and protecting themselves from predator animals, like bears and cougars. Instead of sticking around in the spot where they got separated, so that the adults can double back and find them when they realize they’re missing, they venture off, deeper into the mountains and get lost for days.

I love a good survival story, but this just seemed overly dramatic, very juvenile, and the two kept treating their situation like it was a game of Dungeons and Dragons. There was also a lot of stereotypical high school drama both before and after the two get stranded. Ash and Vale are outcasts who get teased and bullied a lot for pretty much no reason, and that’s a good topic to analyze if it’s done correctly, but this just felt overly cliché in the way it was handled by Ash and Vale and their antagonists.

The one redeeming quality this book has is representation. Vale is aromantic and asexual, so a romance between her and Ash is not something that happens, they’re just really good buddies. At the start of the book, Vale isn’t out to her friends or family, and while stranded in the wilderness, she comes out to Ash, and the two talk about it in a positive light.

Aside from the LGBTQIA rep, this book was a big bummer for me, and just had me rolling my eyes at the absurdity at the majority of the situations. I think maybe it will appeal better to a much younger audience or those that are more interested in cliché high school drama.

jay_mack9712's review

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This was such a treat to read! It was a roller coaster from start to finish and Danika almost made me nervous that the kids were not going to make it out alive !! I really enjoyed the setting of the book as i myself have visited Waterton Park on many occasions and it was a pleasure to read about it and have it describe by Danika in such a manner.

The friendship in this book is so precious and so important ! To have it be a book on just friendship and nothing romantic about it is so refreshing to read and a really nice change of pace! I am always looking forward to reading her next book and seeing what wonderful adventures she has to offer us next time !

libraryjen's review

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Switchback is the first novel by Danica Stone that I've read, but it won't be the last. The two main characters are teens on a school PE field trip hiking in the Canadian Rockies. Vale is a social outcast, the target of bullies. She's smart and resourceful, but still learning how to advocate for herself. She self-describes as aro-ace (aromantic/asexual), which is a term I had not heard before reading the book. The discussion of this was tastefully done, giving just enough information for the reader to understand, but no graphic detail. It came across as believable and was appropriately handled for the target age group. The other main character, Ash, is Vale's best friend and has been since elementary school. Ash is a hard-core gamer who spends most of his free time in the basement playing various multi-player online games. He's also a bit of a slacker and a clown. The reader gets the feeling that he could easily be the target of the bullies as well, except he has developed a coping strategy of self-deprecating humor that shrugs everything off. There is no romance in this story to distract from the survival story, it's just platonic friendship. (Hallelujah! I love a good YA story that does NOT revolve around romance).

When Ash and Vale get separated from the rest of the group, they become hopelessly lost in country wild enough for elk, cougars, and grizzlies. Vale is a hiker with some experience, but nothing as primitive as what they're up against now. Ash has no clue. Still, it will be up to the two of them to help each other survive.

The characters were flawed and relatable, but also realistic. The drama could be a bit over the top at times, but teenage drama usually is. The book was well researched and well written and I will definitely be buying it for my library and recommending it to my patrons.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this ebook from in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

justenjoy's review

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"The universe has a really sick sense of humor."

peyton_'s review

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This is a good story. The characters were realistic and it was nice to see an aro-ace protagonist. The ending was a little unclear and could have been described a little better to make it easier to understand. It was really nice to read about an area I knew. It made it more real (and also makes me not want to get lost in Waterton). I really enjoyed it and recommend it to people who want to read an adventure story.

diamondxgirl's review

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You think you’ve met authors who put their characters through everything and then you meet Danika + Switchback and learn how very untrue that is!

kiki86's review

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This was such a good book! Such a page turner! I even lent my book out to 4 friends and told them they have to read it!