• Page Count: 320
  • Release Date: August 17, 2018
  • My Rating: 4.5 stars

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?

I’ve been missing national parks, backpacking, hiking, camping, wilderness survival, etc so this story turned out to be exactly what I wanted to read right now! I really loved the setting and the characters.

Ok this plot is weirdly hard to summarize because there are a lot of side stories going on… but that also means everything weaves together perfectly in a way where nothing’s ever dull!

I’m just going to leave the book description here:

“Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together. What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?”

So the hate-to-love relationship & wilderness setting got all of my enthusiasm. But I also loved how so many other details in the story worked together to make everything feel super realistic. All of the characters were so relatable, flawed, and fully developed that the family dynamics ended up being one of the strongest parts of the story for me. The fights, secrets, and misunderstandings were totally believable because the people were all so very human.

Zorie has some pretty hilarious inner dialogue, too. Her motto is “don’t be cautious. Be careful.” She plans everything thoroughly but eventually learns she can’t control all of life’s events. Her mom died when she was a kid, so she’s closest with her Korean-American stepmother now. Her father’s a bit of a homophobic racist who looks down on Lennon’s Muslim father and lesbian mothers who own the sex shop next door. He’s hiding secrets of his own and Zorie has to figure out where she’ll fit into civilization as well as the wilderness.

The pacing was great and the writing style was so easy to read that I flew through the story in one sitting! There are also some really great maps of their locations in the book, which made the setting even more fun.

Side note: parents who are more conservative often ask me whether a story would be appropriate for their kids, so I do want to mention that maybe the sex shop and/or teens having sex might not be a topic they’re comfortable with. It’s nothing too graphic or anything most teens aren’t exposed to in pop culture, though.

Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC.

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