For years, Leah has stolen out at night to the forest abutting her East Texas home to set out apples on a tree stump, then hide and watch three giant, hairy Bigfoot lumber out and consume her offering; this time, the visitors include a human boy.
Leah’s kept her trips secret from her dysfunctional, all-white family: authoritarian preacher dad, secret-tippler mom, and older brother Matt. Each has nursed corrosive secrets in the decade since Matt’s twin died in a horrific incident that also claimed the brother and father of Leah’s best friend, Ashley (all also white). Their losses are a forbidden topic. Why her parents then moved next to the forest puzzles Leah, banned from setting foot in it herself. Blonde Leah attracts romantic attention from Matt’s friend, but he’s no match for the enchanting, mysterious green-eyed, bronze-skinned forest boy who’s claimed Leah’s heart and is equally smitten. In secret encounters that include the smallest Sasquatch, their relationship deepens. Meanwhile, Leah’s parents head out nights, in camo hunting attire; excitement’s replaced their customary hostility. As convoluted paths converge, long-hidden truths are revealed. Related by Leah in the present tense, her discoveries—of the boy, the Sasquatch, and their forest world at night—are intense and authentic, resonating with heady excitement. More mundane plot developments and explanations tidy loose narrative threads but strain credulity. Paradoxically, the Tarzan-esque fantasy rings truest.
An appealing debut for romance fans and readers willing to suspend disbelief. (Romantic fantasy. 12-16)