The Canyon’s Edge by Dusti Bowling

Hatchet meets Long Way Down on this heartfelt and gripping novel in verse about a young girl’s conflict for survival after a climbing experience along with her father is going extraordinarily wrong. One year after a random shooting modified their family forever, Nora and her father are exploring a slot canyon deep inside the Arizona desert, hoping it will help them locate peace. Nora longs for things to move again to normal, like they were while her mother changed into nevertheless alive, even as her father maintains them remoted in fear of other people. But whilst they reach the bottom of the canyon, the unthinkable happens: A flash flood rips throughout their path, sweeping away Nora’s father and all in their supplies. Suddenly, Nora finds herself lost and alone inside the desert, dealing with dehydration, venomous scorpions, lethal snakes, and, worst of all, the Beast who has terrorized her desires for the past 12 months. If Nora is going to save herself and her father, she must overcome her fears, defeat the Beast, and locate the courage to stay her new life.


The last phrases Nora says to her father are “I hate you.” Moments later, she watches in disbelief as a flash flood whisks her father away, down the canyon wherein they’re hiking. A 12 months ago, Nora’s mother changed into killed in a random shooting; now she fears she has lost her father, too. Most of all, Nora wonders whether or not she has lost herself and her will to survive in the brutal and unforgiving Arizona desert.

Although she and her father are each knowledgeable, skilled hikers, Nora is misplaced and absolutely alone. She should face venomous snakes, scorpions, warmth and thirst—and the Beast that has haunted her for the last yr. As she wanders, by no means finding greater than temporary shelter however constantly protecting out wish of locating her father, her therapist’s voice echoes in her mind: “Focusing on what ifs enables nothing.”

Nora discovers it’s the small matters that reason the most hardship. A pesky braid that won’t live put. A mesquite bean that barely gives a calorie of sustenance. The slicing pain of a stone reducing her skin. The words we are saying that harm each other. A tiny bullet which could shatter lives. Nora confronts every one, persevering with to recognition all her attempt on her subsequent step, driving herself onward.

The Canyon’s Edge begins and ends in prose, but the wall of water that sweeps Nora’s father away also shifts the narrative into suspenseful, propulsive free verse. It’s exciting to witness the braveness and fortitude Nora displays (not to mention sheer electricity and will) as she battles the factors and learns that invisible demons can be the hardest to conquer. Her story will resonate with readers who understand that the important thing to survival is locating something to stay for.


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