Off the Itinerary: 1 Avalanche Off the Itinerary: 2 Chased

Reviewed by:

Julie-Allyson Ieron, author/Bible teacher/worship minister



Off the Itinerary: 1 Avalanche

Off the Itinerary: 2 Chased


M. Liz Boyle


Independently published


September 2019, June 2020


paperback, ebook


Avalanche: 214 pp.; Chased: 230 pp.


Two families of parents and teens plan annual wilderness adventures. Both dads are skilled in mountaineering and trained in survival. They’ve passed along their wisdom and love for these excursions to their wives and kids. These trips are the highlights of both families’ calendars. Over the years, the kids have grown together, like siblings, who squabble and tease—and care for each other.

In Avalanche, the families are on a planned trip to Colorado. The kids conspire to sneak out of camp under cover of darkness to climb a magnificent peak, something they’ve heard their dads talk about having done in their youth. They tell no adult and don’t file any plan with rangers or authorities. As they’re midway up, an unforeseen avalanche traps them, swallows many of their safety supplies, and causes injuries to several of the kids, who require medical care that’s obviously unavailable on the hidden side of the mountain. The adventure becomes trying to reach a ranger station in their hobbled conditions, with few provisions and waning strength.

In the sequel, Chased, the kids have permission to go off on their own, where they encounter a dangerous mystery man who threatens them, takes them captive, and leaves their lives hanging in the balance. Through both books, the teens’ quest for maturity is a great theme, along with secondary storylines of coming-of-age and seeking God’s will for their adult lives. At least one set of teens experiences a budding romance. And relationship insights weave in and out of both stories. These are especially valuable to teens and tweens of both sexes who might be reading.

I loved the stories. I believed the characters. The setting is skillfully described—with energetic and at times heart-pounding excitement oozing through the pages. That said, though, I struggled with this review. Here’s why: I was troubled, especially in Avalanche, by the underlying idea that a group of teens would act recklessly and venture out into the wilderness on a perilous climb without telling their parents—and then receive no parental punishment or reprimand when it’s all said and done.

In the end, I recommend these with reservation. Parents, know what your kids are reading, and talk about the issues. Then you all can enjoy a cast of terrific characters and the terrifyingly beautiful settings they experience.


Rating (1 to 5):


Suggested Audience:

Teens and tweens with parental discussion

Christian Impact:

Coming of age and asserting independence in seeking God’s will for one’s life.

Avalanche (Off the Itinerary, #1)


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