author : alex mallory
pages : [paperback] 448
favorite character : sofia
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.
This book seemed so interesting when I read the summary. I’ve never read something like a retelling of Tarzan before, though I don’t think the comparison to that well-known story does much for this book. Cade was a fascinating character. The only humans he’d communicated with, as far back as he can remember, were his parents. Now that they’re both dead he’s lived alone in the woods for three years, convinced that the rest of the world is dead or dying from a pandemic. That’s the explanation his mother always gave him for why they needed to keep themselves hidden from the world.
Unfortunately, Cade was the only fascinating portion of the story for me. Some of the plot was very easy to predict and I would skip a few pages ahead so that I could stop reading about Cade again instead of the media frenzy surrounding him or how Josh, Dara’s boyfriend, acts as a kind of antagonist and nothing more. Most of the characters lack depth and I didn’t care much for them. Even Dara, the other leading character, felt shallow. Her only ‘special’ aspect was her love of photography. I knew little else about her, except that she liked to defy everyone else to get to Cade because she felt an inexpiable connection with him . . another device that I typically don’t like to read about in YA.
While reading, I realized when there were only fifteen pages left that there was too much to say in that short amount of space. I was afraid that this book would be getting a sequel because it didn’t seem to deserve one; the plot dragged on as it was. No, instead the ending was very rushed and somehow ended up with a perfect, nonsensical ending. It left me unsatisfied.
I wouldn’t recommend this retelling because it was a good idea that was poorly executed. I liked hearing Cade’s story but it was never fully developed and he could not make up for the other, flatter characters. I do not know if I will pick up anything else by Alex Mallory.