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Along the Garden Path

This is a story about Addison Erhard, an affluent young seventeen-year-old growing up in McLean, Virginia, who feels pressured to be successful. She wants to be a journalist who makes an impact on the world. In order to attend her dream school of Columbia University, she must break the state track record, and write an incredible story for her school's magazine. Her family is split in their support, the pressure in the community and from her father is to attend an Ivy League school, to become a successful lawyer, doctor, politician or banker; her father would like her to become a banker. Her mother, an artist who does not fit in with the McLean society as well as her father, supports her desire to follow her dreams.

She meets a boy, Mason Gentry, who wants to buck high society McLean by following his family’s legacy and become a farmer. While investigating her story about kids who pursue non-traditional college and career paths, the young journalist falls in love with Mason.

In March a student at Chain Bridge High School and friend of both Mason and Addison, Jamison Randall, is struck down during a hit-and-run accident early one morning. The driver of the car has fled and Jamison is in a coma. Addison, who works for the news magazine, decides to investigate the accident on her own, and what she find is more than she can handle.


on April 29, 2016
Although the title of this review references a key clue in the movie "National Treasure", it also rings true for Charlotte Strack Peyton's novel "Along the Garden Path." What fans like about magic tricks is not the "what" of the trick; it is the "how." "Along the Garden Path" works its magic through a fictional high school, accessible rural settings, and realism in its texting and characters. What begins as a coming of age novel turns into a journalism textbook, but then readers are taken on a roller coaster ride through a love story and a mystery to be solved. The main character of Addison might remind readers of J.K. Rowling's book-smart Hermione Granger. As Ron Weasley does for Hermione, Mason helps Addison move from static to dynamic. Beyond the contemporary characters and their true cellphone texting dialogue, it is the author's expertise into what goes into preparing for a track meet, what goes into developing a journalistic story, and what goes into magnifying imagery in Shenandoah Virginia's true beauty that make this definite read and page turner. Once the secret to the mystery is solved, the reader will be inclined to go back and revisit the journalistic clues... only to realize, this is only the ominous beginning to "In the Chilling Wind" (2017).
on April 14, 2016
I am a big fan of coming of age stories and I'm so glad I picked up Along the Garden Path. This book has everything - first love and adventure, mystery and ambition and dreams. Charlotte Peyton paints a realistic picture of pressure teenagers face these days, as well as various expectations and demands they are forced to juggle. The main character needs to decide whether to follow her dreams or to please her father. She navigates high school, the choice of college and her feelings for a boy she just met expertly. The narrative is fast-paced, with strong and realistic characters. This is the first book in the series and I look forward to the sequel.
on April 6, 2016
This story is so much more than I expected. Addison is a beautiful, smart girl whose passion lies in journalism, telling stories that will change the world's outlook on humanity. Although a busy girl, she finds ways to handle the hurdles, keeping up with school, trying to break the schools track record and now, managing the feelings she has for a boy. The hike he takes her on makes her rethink her absence in dating and her feelings flourish. Mason is a handsome young fellow and is studying agriculture, something that is unique to students in this prestigious Washington High School. Her journalistic work is progressing while she interviews students with not so typical goals in life. Tragedy strikes the community when a promising young man, whose goal was to study and go abroad with the Peace Corps to feed and heal the malnourished third world, ends up in a coma after being hit by a car. The person who hit him took off and Addison takes it upon herself to find out who did it. His future is uncertain and even bleak as his life and future were snatched away from him. This is where it gets so so so good. I recommend this book for young readers or even if you are in your late 20's as I am. The author does a great job describing in detail each setting and quirk all while you are floating through the fast paced events that take place. Great book and very identifiable with the young adult community.
Profile Photo Charlotte Strack Peyton

About Charlotte Strack Peyton

Charlotte Peyton is a Certified Journalism Educator and teaches Journalism, Photojournalism and English in Virginia.

Charlotte was born in The Hauge, The Netherlands, but was raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she attended Mounds View High School and The University of Minnesota. She currently lives in Virginia, with her husband and three children.

While growing up in Minnesota, Charlotte was an active cross-country skier, and enjoys running, reading, and writing.

All books by Charlotte Strack Peyton

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