How a life can change unexpectedly and affect family, friends and so many people in the process. Kylie Ladd explores this in her novel The Way Back when thirteen year old Charlie goes missing while out riding her beloved horse, Tic Tac. At first a riding accident is suspected, and there is the hope that she may be lying somewhere injured. As time goes by, however, some begin to lose hope.
Different ways of coping with the unknown are explored, some retreating into their own world and cutting off communication with loved ones, some throwing themselves with great gusto into searching day after day, others seeking solace. Four months later Charlie is discovered, and this discovery brings about a whole new set of reactions and ways of dealing with the situation at hand. Is it possible to return to a normal life after such trauma?