Teen Book Review: The Steep and Thorny Way

Fast Facts:

  • Genre: historical fiction/mystery/supernatural
  • Release Date: 3/8/16
  • Rating: 5/5 stars
  • Age Recommendation: 14+

16 year old Oregon native Hanalee Denney’s life has not been an easy one. She was born from an interracial marriage in the 1920’s, a rough time in America’s history. Prohibition, and by extension bootlegging, is going strong in the forest behind Hanalee’s house and the Ku Klux Klan is slowly becoming more of a presence in her sleepy town of Elston, Oregon. In addition, Hanalee’s loving father Hank Denney died a year ago, hit and killed by a drunk driver on Christmas Eve. Not to mention that now the killer is free, let out on good behavior. However, he claims he didn’t kill Hank, but that it was a doctor who killed him, a doctor who is Hanalee’s new stepfather. With racial tensions rising and more and more mystery surrounding Hank Denney’s death, Hanalee must protect herself and bring justice to the person who killed her father, whoever that may be.

This Hamlet inspired work is an incredible read. Personally I love historical fiction, but I am more drawn towards more recent history than the 1920’s. However, I loved this book. The characters had great personality and really developed throughout the course of the story. There was just enough twists to keep me interested but not so many that it got confusing. It touches on the struggles of being “different” in a time when being different was dangerous. The Steep and Thorny Way is a must read for fans of historical fiction, interested in what it would be like to live in the 1920’s, people who like Oregon history, and anyone who feels like they don’t belong.


Check this book out at WCCLS

April 7, 2017|Categories: Reviews, Spotlight - Teens|

About the Author:

Teen Council
The CML Teen Council is a group of local middle and high school students who meet once a month to plan programs and give input on library services to teens. It began in 2009 and has an application process around May or June each year.