Erica Ferencik’s Into the Jungle

I read this.  Yes, the whole thing, and apparently, the Bolivian experiences of a friend of the author provided the idea behind this novel.  Good to know, that, ‘cause otherwise I’d have launched into a discussion of its utter implausibility.  The prologue nearly stopped me right there and then, that python dream, but I thought maybe that was unfair and soldiered on.  At nineteen, Lily, a lying, thieving survivor of the U.S. foster care system, is stranded in Bolivia, where she meets and falls in love with Omar, a motorcycle mechanic from the jungle.  He is moderately hot.  Soon he is summoned back to his remote village, Lily goes with him, and, after a harrowing plane ride, they arrive.  Here, among showers of tarantulas, Omar transforms, but it’s all good, and how! – from cute mechanic to wise, noble, studly, mighty hunter and savior of his people.  Lily, after some minor cultural adjustment and soon pregnant, attains depths of character and resourcefulness you wouldn’t believe.  Literally.  Shall we say over the top?  Let’s.

There’s a creepy telepathic shaman, a completely gratuitous family of lepers, a slimy poacher whose face is ripped off by a timely eagle, a lovely little pig that gets eaten, and a murderous neighboring tribe who can melt into the jungle and “melt out” of it as well.  Man, it’s hot.  Can we borrow a cup of curare?   But I read this, the whole thing, and there’s the rub.  While “utter implausibility” flashed on and off like a neon sign, I often found myself riding the literary skids of this jungle extravaganza with my hair plastered back, having a big ol’ time.  Readers, casting suggestions for Omar?

The ride begins on May 21 at a bookstore near you.

Full Disclosure: A review copy of this book was provided to me by Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books / Gallery/Scout Press via NetGalley. I would like to thank the publisher and the author for providing me this opportunity. All opinions expressed herein are my own.

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