Overcoming a slow start and a cacophony of voices, this novel combines adventure and romance into an engaging read.
While their fellow seniors head to Orlando for spring break, Dara and her boyfriend, Josh, decide to camp in the Daniel Boone National Forest. The forest is home to trees, animals—and a teenager named Cade, who has lived there since his parents fled from society 15 years before. When he sees Dara, Cade is entranced, and the feeling is mutual once they meet. A bear attack forces Dara and Josh to bring an injured Cade out of the forest and into society. Dubbed the Primitive Boy once the story breaks, Cade is left reeling by this strange new world. Only Dara can help him…and that’s what Dara wants, too. The connection between them is undeniable, but it’s a struggle to nurture a romance under such conditions. To be together, will they choose to live in the woods or in the world? The story doesn’t really start until the bear attack occurs. Mallory tells her story in multiple voices; the choice to go beyond Cade and Dara to include other characters’ perspectives facilitates the sharing of information with readers yet dilutes the emotional impact.
Nevertheless, that impact is still made, and Cade and Dara’s struggle to be together shines. (Adventure/romance. 14-18)