Out of Reach

By Carrie Arcos

Current & Digital Publisher: Simon Pulse  (Simon & Schuster)

Reading Level: Ages 14 & Up

Video by Jordan McMullen, of Bookends, on Out of Reach by Carrie Arcos:

Jordan McMullen has just finished up her senior year of high school (THANK GOD). She not only enjoys video blogging; she loves to paint, read, sing, and piano around. She currently lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with her mother, her grandparents, her sister and brother, and (the loves of her life) her dogs. Jordan plans on moving into some form of writing, editing, or something English-related, and is beyond ecstatic to begin her college career.
Bookends received the National Book Foundation’s Innovations in Reading Prize in 2012. A local TV show hosted and presented by Fort Collins, Colorado teens from the Interesting Readers Society in partnership with Channel 10 and the Poudre River Public Library District, Bookends allows teens to share reviews of favorite books and interview local YA authors. www.poudrelibraries.org


Sydney Mok writes:

I would recommend the book Out of Reach by Carrie Arcos because this book is about how a boy teenager takes drugs. This can relate to a lot of people now because there are teens in the world that take drugs. The boy, Micah, took crystal meth and ran away. He got addicted the first time he tried it and kept using it after. His parents found out and made him go to classes for teens who take drugs. He decided to run away. His sister, Rachel, and he were very close and after he went missing, Rachel and Micah’s former best friend, Tyler, decided to go in search of him. Someone sent an email to Rachel saying that Micah was in trouble. I liked this book because it was suspenseful and very interesting. It’s important because it can teach teens to not do drugs because it can cause them to go crazy and leave their family and have a bad future. I would recommend this book to a teen my age because it’s about a teen who starts to take drugs and gets a bad future. This book makes me feel bad for all these kids who get into these situations in real life.

Sydney Mok is a thirteen-year-old student in BookUpNYC at University Settlement, part of the National Book Foundation’s BookUp after-school program.


BookUpNYC student Moises from Kingsbridge Heights Community Center reviews Out of Reach:


BookUpNYC student Sam from Kingsbridge Heights Community Center reads from Out of Reach:


Susan Wu writes:

A book that I would recommend is Out of Reach by Carrie Arcos. Throughout the story, the main character, Rachel, is searching for her brother, Micah, who is addicted to drugs. Micah’s best friend, Tyler, accompanies Rachel along the way. Rachel tells the readers a lot about Micah and his addiction to drugs, and how he was different before he started taking drugs while she was on her search for Micah.

The book was really interesting because drug addiction is a really big deal, and you get to read the story of someone who has lost a sibling to drugs, and that is one of the main reasons why this book appealed to me. Something that makes this book amazing is how Rachel compares the old Micah and Micah before he left. She compares the brother she loved and the brother who wasn’t always there for her because of drugs, and it shows how drugs can seriously affect the ones that you love.

Since drug addiction is a very important issue, and this book talks about it, it makes the book very important. I can’t relate to this book, but I’m sure a lot of people who have a family member or friend that is addicted to drugs can relate to this. Even though I can’t personally relate to Rachel, I think this book is the kind of book that everyone can enjoy, and it deserves 5 stars!!!

Susan Wu is a twelve-year-old student in BookUpNYC at University Settlement, part of the National Book Foundation’s BookUp after-school program.


YPL Finalists That Year:

  • Carrie Arcos for Out of Reach
  • Patricia McCormick for Never Fall Down
  • Eliot Schrefer for Endangered
  • Steve Sheinkin for Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon

YPL Winner That Year: William Alexander for Goblin Secrets

Judges That Year: Judith Ortiz Cofer, Susan Cooper, Daniel EhrenhaftGary D. SchmidtMarly Youmans

The Year in Literature: Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos won the Newbery Medal.  Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley won the Printz Award.

More Information: 

  • Out of Reach was Carrie Arcos’ first novel.
  • In an interview for the National Book Foundation, Carrie Arcos said she got the inspiration for Out of Reach from her own experience of looking for a family member who was struggling with drug addiction. “I was distraught and in pain because I could not help this person. I could not stop him from the life he was choosing. A little while later after finishing a terrible SF novel, I started writing in Rachel's voice. I kind of channeled the emotions I had struggled with through her character. I thought the premise of a sister looking for her missing addict brother might be cool to tackle because I don't know many books that look at addiction through the lens of a family member. I also knew I could speak to the situation and provide an authenticity and emotional truth. The process became a cathartic one.”  

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