Something Wild & Wonderful

Hachette Audio. Mar. 2023. 10:34 hrs. ISBN 9781668619612. $27.99. LGBTQIA+ ROMANCE
Alexei Lebedev hoped a solo trek along the 2500-plus miles of the Pacific Crest Trail would help him discover himself. His conservative, religious parents rejected him after he came out to them, and now he looks forward to finding out who Alexei 2.0 will be. When Alexei helps fellow hiker Ben Caravalho deal with an unwanted snake encounter and then keeps running into the cheerful, gorgeous man, the two decide to form a “trail family” and journey together. Ben can sense that Alexei is struggling, but he can’t help but fall in love with gentle Alexei, who promises to stick with Ben through his biggest fears on the trail. When Ben realizes his biggest trail fear is losing the Alexei he already loves to Alexei 2.0, they must decide whether they can overcome past traumas and turn their “for a time” into forever. Narrator Mark Sanderlin skillfully distinguishes between the voices of Alexei, Ben, and their loved ones in this dual POV romance.
VERDICT While deeply poignant and emotional, Kelly’s (Love & Other Disasters) charming writing, humor, and care for her characters make this a stunning romance. Contemporary romance at its best; essential for most core romance collections.
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