A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker, 4 Stars

Laguna Beach, California, 1968. The Age of Aquarius is in full swing. Timothy Leary is a rock star. LSD is God. Folks from all over are flocking to Laguna, seeking peace, love, and enlightenment.

Matt Anthony is just trying get by.

Matt is sixteen, broke, and never sure where his next meal is coming from. Mom’s a stoner, his deadbeat dad is a no-show, his brother’s fighting in Nam . . . and his big sister Jazz has just gone missing. The cops figure she’s just another runaway hippie chick, enjoying a summer of love, but Matt doesn’t believe it. Not after another missing girl turns up dead on the beach.

All Matt really wants to do is get his driver’s license and ask out the girl he’s been crushing on since fourth grade, yet it’s up to him to find his sister. But in a town where the cops don’t trust the hippies and the hippies don’t trust the cops, uncovering what’s really happened to Jazz is going to force him to grow up fast.  

If it’s not already too late.

Praise for A Thousand Steps

“This twisty tale of teen’s desperate plan to save his sister and right his off-keel family is a compelling coming-of-age thriller that will entrance you with its ‘60s vibe and backdrop, and captivate you with its engaging storytelling and a believable cast of characters –including one heroic kid you can’t help but to root for.” —USA Today

“A unique thriller and also a coming-of-age story: the not-so-sentimental education of an impressionable teen. Mr. Parker has given us a well-designed flashback to a tie-dyed time that in some ways seems like the day before yesterday and in others feels like a century ago.” —Wall Street Journal

“As powerful as a riptide in summer…A Thousand Steps reopens for our reconsideration the consequences of clashes between authority and freedom, order and chaos, that persist to this day — and the innocents that will always get caught in the tumult.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review

My Review:

A Thousand Steps is everything you want a book set in the late 60’s/early 70’s to be. I mean, where there even normal functioning families back then or did kids and teens run wild while their parents partied and worked dead-end jobs? I mean, obviously not. But so many of the stories (real and fictional) that we love from this era are all about the hippies and lost souls that kind of drift through life looking for love and meaning.

Think Almost Famous, but without the groupies and with a murder mystery. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch. But the book had that feel. And Matt is just as lovable and adorable as William Miller. Poor Matt can’t count on his mom because she’s always high or depressed. He can’t count on his older brother because he’s currently off fighting in Vietnam, and he can’t count on his sister because she’s gone missing.

A Thousand Steps is definitely a book to check out this spring. It was interesting following Matt all around Laguna as he tried to piece together his sister’s disappearance and track her down before it’s too late. Special thanks to Netgalley and MacMillan Forge Books for an advanced e-galley in exchange for my honest review. This one is out now, get your copy.


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