{Blog Tour} Wild by Alex Mallory: Review+Excerpt+Giveaway!

July 5, 2014 Blog Tour, Book, Giveaway, Joint Review 7 ★★★★

four-stars

Wild by Alex Mallory
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Romance, Contemporary Fiction, Retelling
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 8th 2014
Source: Edelweiss
Rate: 4 stars

Synopsis:
The forest is full of secrets, and no one understands that better than Cade. Foraging, hunting, surviving— that’s all he knows. Alone for years, Cade believes he’s the sole survivor. At least, until he catches a glimpse of a beautiful stranger…
Dara expected to find natural wonders when she set off for a spring break camping trip. Instead, she discovers a primitive boy— he’s stealthy and handsome and he might be following her. Intrigued, Dara seeks him out and sets a catastrophe in motion.
Thrust back into society, Cade struggles with the realization that the life he knew was a lie. But he’s not the only one. Trying to explain life in a normal town leaves Dara questioning it.
As the media swarm and the police close in, Dara and Cade risk everything to get closer. But will the truth about Cade’s past tear them apart?

A YA Tarzan retelling.

Marianne’s Thoughts:

“You’re Dara,” the boy said. “I’m Cade.”

As far as retellings go, this is one of the most imaginative ones I’ve read. I was really curious as to how the author would manage to create a modern-day Tarzan; Alex Mallory did such an amazing job!

Cade has lived all his life in the woods. That’s the only life he knows, when he rescues Dara from a bear attack, he’s suddenly brought back to the “real world”.

I think the most interesting part of all of this was seeing Cade be introduced to everything. Seeing him discover escalators, and how to use an iPhone was both curious and thought provoking. Cade lived all his life without these things, so how is it that now he has to know how to use them? I loved seeing him discover what he “was missing” all this time.

What’s most refreshing about this book is the fact that it doesn’t revolve around the romance. It’s about so much more than that. Dara & Cade are curious about each other, but that’s all it is.  Their relationship progresses slowly but smoothly and I loved seeing it! It was a slow burn and so cute! :3

This book was written in third person and yet it was so easy to connect to all the characters. I understood Dara and her love for photography, Cade and his confusion as to why his life was so “controversial”; I even understood Dara’s parents and why they didn’t seem to trust Cade at first.

This book also has wonderful family dynamics and I loved seeing Dara’s family interacting with Cade! It was so funny and awkward. No one knew how to react to this “wilderness boy” and it was so entertaining.

I think my only complaint is that sometimes there were some unnecessary parts. The story felt too long, and I guess some parts could’ve been cut out because they didn’t contribute much to the story.

Nevertheless, I had a really great love for the ending! It was open ended, but resolved.

I don’t know how to explain it! I felt like I already knew what happened with the story even if we weren’t explicitly told.

Overall this is a modern retelling that you should definitely read. Alex Mallory does a great job at bringing one of my favourite Disney movies to a book.

Rating: 4.5 stars

 

Jennifer’s Thoughts:

I am completely in love with Disney’s version of Tarzan, and have wanted to read the original books for a while now. In this book though, the author take this idea of a man living in the jungle and gives it a twist of its own that is sure to make readers curious to know more.

Cade has lived in the forest since he was a little kid, no more than two years old. His mom always told him about how the human race had been wiped out by some pandemic virus that made them run away from all human contact to avoid it. They lived in the forest to survive as the last remaining humans. They didn’t make contact with the forest rangers that would surely make them sick and steal their supplies. Cade lived like this even after the death of his parents. He believed with all his being that he was the last man on Earth. Until he discovers he’s not. Dara and her boyfriend, Josh, go on a camping trip for their Easter vacations in an attempt to get close again and explore the wilderness like they once had. While Josh is unobservant, Dara sees every little detail through her camera and she discovers they’re not alone in the forest.

When they get attacked by a bear and Cade is hurt badly, Dara rushes him to civilization where he’s overwhelmed with everyone. They question him about his parents, about who he is, and from where he came from. Even when he says the truth they don’t believe him, and there’s only one way to get rid of the police and the news media, by returning home to his forest. And the only thing stopping him, other than his injuries, is Dara, the first person other than his family that he saw and started to feel something strange that anchors him to her.

I’ll admit, I couldn’t help but comparing each character to other characters of the Tarzan movies, which was a prime mistake because this is not that movie, far from it actually other from the main themes and subject of  a man living in the wild. Nonetheless, I loved every single detail the author provided for Cade’s point of view. I really felt like I was inside his head, noticing every single detail of the forest, animal behavior, and how he lived there. It was amazing and felt very accurate. I don’t know what was the big deal with the civilization people, because I can totally see someone living in the wild and surviving. Maybe even living better than us “civilized” folks.

And the people. Gosh, what an annoying bunch, but in a good way because it gave a more realistic feel and connection to the character. I felt at times oppressed like Cade, surrounded by so many weird things and people not respecting your personal space, not believing you and thinking you were like a crazed animal.

Rather than Cade’s parents being killed by sickness or animal attacks or being marooned on the jungle, in this book the parents willingly escape to the forest to evade a sickness that’s wiping the world. We all know this is untrue, but it keeps the story interesting and mysterious as the readers and Cade discover the truth behind his parent’s motivations and why they lied to him. It had me wondering a lot and creating theories of what the reasons behind them could be. I was close to knowing from the beginning, but it was surprising when by the end I finally knew why.

The only thing I didn’t like of the story was how there wasn’t much conflict in the wild sense. Other than a bear attack and the desperation in Cade to return to his home and hide from this civilization he’s being introduced to, the story had a passive-aggressive feel to it. I wanted a big fight with the government or the police, an angry mob scaring Cade away from their town, wild animals attacking the people of Cade’s command, something of the sort that had my blood pumping in anticipation. Yet as I neared the end, no such luck. The end was pacific and simple, understandable to grasp but not satisfying. Not giving spoilers, but I really wanted to see more struggle or something that made me think that the character’s end was well deserved rather than being rushed and given easily. I know Cade suffered a lot, but, I dunno, maybe it’s just me.

Overall, even with the problem I had in the end, it was an enjoyable read. It made me think a lot about how I should appreciate the contemporary things around me that others don’t have for whatever reasons. It also made me see differently how people are always incredulous to improvable, not impossible, situations. They kept denying the truth that came from Cade’s lips, and often we do the same with others. We deny whatever they say just because it doesn’t fit with our mindset and expectations. It was interesting, sweet, thought-provoking, and a definite read for anyone that likes the story of Tarzan but with a different twist.

Rating: 4 stars

 Prologue

There’s a secluded camp deep in the heart of Daniel Boone National Forest.

It’s not a summer escape. There’s no tent here. This is a living space. Comfortable. Tidy. Laundry hangs on a line, and Brendan Walsh sits in the open, scraping a hide. He’s brown from the sun; his skin is the same shade as his earth-worn jeans and buckskins.

Beside him, Cade, a toddler, plays in the dust. With his dark hair and brown eyes, he can fade into the forest completely. Hide-and-seek is the most terrifying game Cade can play. He’s small enough to fin inside stumps or inside the belly of a bear.

His chubby fingers grip his clay animals. They’re artlessly made, suggestions of a bear, a cat, a cow. Their owner doesn’t care. He marches them up his mother’s leg, then down it again. When he looks ta her, he laughs. She smiles, but it doesn’t quite reach her eyes.

Liza Walsh is ever aware. Ever watching. Ever listening. Even as she braids reeds into a basket, her eyes dart. They linger on shadows, on shapes. It’s summer, when the shade beneath the canopy turns the forest to perpetual twilight.

Interrupting his wife’s thoughts, Brendan says, “I thought we might hike to the falls tomorrow.”

“That’ll be nice,” Liza says. “We’ll check the hives on the way back.”

In high summer the bee hollow flows with honey. The Walshes feast on rabbit and wild parsnips, cattail roots and dandelion greens, and for dessert, blackberries and mulberries, and honey. Honey raw on fingers. Honey thinned in ginger water, honey drizzled on the creamy, custardy insides of a ripe pawpaw.

Fall brings big game, but less honey. Winter is hunger season, and spring, near starvation. So the Walshes visit the bee hollow as often as they can in the summer. They have to be careful. If they damage the hives, the queen will fly away. They’ll be left with nothing but sagging, empty honeycomb and the memory of sweet days lost.

When a crack rents the air, Liza jumps to her feet. She plucks Cade from the dust. As unfamiliar voices ring out, she stuffs Cade into a recess in the cliff. It’s not quite a cave, but is just big enough to hide in.

A man says, “South by southwest.”

“Quadrant clear,” a woman replies.

Hands on Cade’s shoulders, Liza leans over to whisper, “Stay here, baby.”

Then she rushes outside. Moving as a team, she and Brendan dismantle their camp. The laundry comes down. They haul blankets made of leaves and vines from the underbrush. A hollowed rock rolls over their fire pit. They can do nothing about the smoke. Its sweet scent hangs in the air, but there will be no more white, wispy fingers curling toward the sky.

They don’t stop to admire their work. Once the camp is erased, Brendan and Liza duck into the hiding place with Cade. Picking him up, Liza smooths his head against her shoulder.

Outside, two rangers tramp by. Their olive-and-khaki uniforms don’t blend into the forest. They’re highlighted against it. A streak of light glitters on their badges.

Murmuring, rocking, Liza tells Cade, “Don’t ever let them see you, baby. They’ll hurt you. Infect you.”

Liza presses herself close to the mouth of the cave. The rangers hike on. She listens until she hears nothing but the forest. When the birds start to sing again, when the frogs join in, that’s when it’s safe to come outside again. Pushing aside the leafy camouflage that hides them, she turns back.

“We can’t ever go back. They’re all dying. We’re the only ones who are safe. Remember that, Cade.”

Alex Mallory is a pen name for YA author Saundra Mitchell. She’s a big fan of reading, history, camping and competitive M&M sorting.
She once crossed a dilapidated train trestle in the middle of the night, 200 feet above the Wabash River, in a futile attempt to prove her love to someone who had no idea she existed.

1) She lived to tell about it. 2) It didn’t work. 3) She doesn’t recommend it.

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Giveaway is open to US Only | Must be 13 or older to enter 
A Wild Prize Pack Featuring: a signed, finished copy of WILD, a copy of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ TARZAN OF THE APES, a DVD (region 1) of Greystoke: Legend of Tarzan of the Apes, bookmarks, and a stuffed plush flu microbe. (US Only)
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We're two Puertorican girls who want to share our love of reading with the world. We sometimes substitute words for GIFS and either rant or fangirl a lot in our reviews. Talk to us about anything! 🙂
  • I’m sooo sad the giveaway is US only. I LOVE TARZAN. I wasn’t really paying attention to this, but now I am and I really really want to read it. Retellings are one of my favourite things of ever, and I haven’t even heard of a Tarzan retelling before this. 😉 Awesome reviews! I’m hooked!

    • I wish you could enter, too! I don’t think there has been naother Tarzan retelling either. Hope you get to read it soon! 🙂

  • Wow, this retelling sounds like it was done really well, with Cade’s point of view on human civilization! It’s interesting how books like this can make us evaluate the life around us. Lovely review ladies, thanks for sharing!

  • Wonderful reviews, ladies. This is a retelling that I have been immensely curious about ever since I first heard of it. I don’t know what it is that I find so fascinating about the idea of being raised in the wild by animals, but whatever it is, it’s compelling. I’ll definitely be reading this one. Also–really glad to hear that this is a well done 3rd person POV. It can be easier to connect to characters in a 1st person POV, but if the author does a good job, I like 3rd better. Don’t know why, just do 😉

    • I like 3rd person because we get to see different perspectives. I agree with you. A well done 3rd person perspective is something to look forward to. I’m happy to say that the raised in the wilderness part was definitely there and great. Thanks for stopping by, Jessica. 🙂

    • Completely agree on the third person POV. I usually try to steer clear of those because I easily fall asleep and feel disconnected. But I enjoyed reading this one from that point because it enables to see more from characters other than the main ones, and still feel connected to them. I hope you enjoy this one if you get to read it 🙂