Into the Jungle

Scout: Gallery. May 2019. 320p. ISBN 9781501168925. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501168932. SUSPENSE
Lily Bushwold, raised in foster care and lured to Bolivia with the promise of a job that didn't exist, is a survivor. She immediately finds work at a hostel and makes friends with other girls. When she meets Omar, they move quickly from lust to love. The arrival of Omar's brother with devastating news changes everything. Omar's nephew has been killed by a jaguar and Omar is needed back in their remote Amazonian village to hunt it down. Soon Lily is facing not only dangerous predators and poisonous frogs but the disdain of Omar's village. Told from the perspective of an older Lily looking back on her 19-year-old self, the narrative benefits from a wiser, more nuanced take on events. The author excels at writing action and does not disappoint with several exciting scenes involving menacing animals, poachers, and transportation difficulties.
VERDICT With so much fierce realism, it comes as a distraction when Ferencik (The River Night) incorporates elements of magical realism. However, readers who accept Lily's telepathic link with the village's shaman will be turning pages eagerly to see what exhilarating adventure awaits her next.

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