The book that reignited my love for reading: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Welcome back to The Editor Series! The women behind She Reads are truly inspired by books and every now and then, we come across one that really changes us, makes us feel something or leads us down a new path in life.

In this new addition to the series, our Site Editor and Producer Ashley opens up about Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone, a book that ultimately led her back to her love for reading. 

Growing up, I was always surrounded by books. It was never a conscious decision to be a reader and book lover but somehow, they always found their way into my life. From classic Sarah Dessen YA novels to Stephenie Meyer and vampire romance, I was the girl who would spend her weekends ripping through the pages of whatever new book I could get my hands on – I even read all the Lauren Conrad novels if that says anything about my book taste as a 13-year-old.

But as time went on, my reading time got pushed aside by school projects, standardized test prep and assigned school reading. Before I knew it, I was starting college. Since I was an English major, my ratio of class reading to leisurely reading was about 30:1. And then I graduated from college and got a job at a book PR firm and suddenly I was back to a world of being surrounded by books and I knew I was in the right place.

At the end of 2017, our company started working on a campaign with Kristin Hannah for her upcoming release The Great Alone. As the in-house content writer, I had read the summary for this book at least 100 times on Amazon and was so intrigued by the complicated family dynamic, trauma and wild Alaskan setting.

I felt giddy picking up an ARC of the book for the first time because it was genuinely the first book in a long time that I was excited about. I took my time reading this one, absorbing all of the incredible detail Hannah puts into her novels. I got to know the Allbright family and cry along with Leni as she transformed from a quiet young girl to a strong and brave young adult. From beginning to end, The Great Alone reminded me how powerful a good book can be. By the end, I was a sobbing mess, saying goodbye to characters I had grown to love so much.

The profound feeling of accomplishment I felt after reading The Great Alone reminded me of my love for reading and ignited a fire inside me to keep finding and reading books that challenge me and make me feel something. Not only did this book quickly become one I recommended to everyone I knew, but it also became a book that I was grateful for – the power and positive messages of strong femininity found within the pages of the novel are unlike anything I’ve read before. Thank you Kristin Hannah for writing a novel that will always stick with me.

Ashley Johnson

Lead Editor

Ashley has always been a writer at heart, receiving a diary from her mother at a very young age. Supportive book-buying parents influenced her love of literature and storytelling as she grew up. Her love for songwriting led the way to creating short stories and the start of her own blog where she documented her life as a college student. A fan of dark plot lines, Ashley picked up Stephen King’s It and never looked back. When she is not working on her first novel or new story ideas, Ashley can be found curled up with her rescue chihuahuas or exploring breathtaking locations throughout the US.

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