Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Alexei had planned on hiking the Pacific Crest Trail alone, as he needs to sort out his thoughts and his next steps in life. It took 20 minutes for his parents to disown him when he came out and Alexei is feeling unbalanced. He’s only just got on the trail when he spots a rattlesnake and prevents a hiker named Ben from getting a snake bite. Alexei has many miles to travel, yet he runs into Ben again, and the men decide to hike together for a while.
Ben likes to be on the move and, after his last disastrous relationship, he’s ready to hike the trail. He really wants to find that special person to share his life with and cute and quiet Alexei has him intrigued. As the men walk, they learn more about each other and save each other in ways they never thought about before. What was supposed to be a time of solitude turns into the men falling for each other. But life on the trail is its own special place and when the outside world wants them to make other plans, Alexei and Ben have to figure out if they can hold onto what they found in the wilderness.
This book was interesting to me for many reasons and I’ll give you my ending line in the beginning in that Something Wild and Wonderful may wind up being one of my favorite books of the year. Which is interesting because when I started the book and was a few chapters in, I found it to be slow and I was having a difficult time getting into it at all. But as the miles passed as Alexei and Ben walked and I learned more about them and felt their connection, it all changed.
Alexei and Ben are hiking for some of the same reasons and some entirely different reasons. Alexei was just disowned from his conservative parents when he came out, he is in between jobs, and he goes on the trail because he thinks he needs to work on himself. However, when he meets Ben, Ben thinks Alexei is perfect the way he is. Alexei is quiet and introspective and knows bird calls by name. He feels completely alone and isn’t the best when making new friends, but Ben is the safe space he needs. Ben comes from a large family that he is close with. They all care about him and Ben loves them all, but he is at odds with himself as he feels he doesn’t follow through on what he sets out to do and he is certainly tired of getting his heart broken.
The men fall for each other slowly in ways and they fall for each other quickly in other ways. How they respond and react to each other becomes an extension of themselves, as they want to make each other happy. Ben wants to show Alexei what being with a man you care about can feel like and Alexei is able to calm Ben’s racing mind and they truly bring out the best in each other. Their story isn’t without its share of hardships, as real life encroaches on their travel plans and it’s in those moments where the book shines brightest. The deep emotional payoff here is worth all the miles it takes for the men to get there.
In the end, it was difficult to let Alexei and Ben go as their story wraps them around a wonderful ending and I do recommend you take a walk with Alexei and Ben.
This does sound good, Michelle! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
It’s a lovely gentle read.
Balances out the news these days.