I’ve mainly enjoyed this New Adult male/male series , but I admit that I was excited about this story in particular because the characters meet while hiking on the Appalachian Trail. I live in the Northwest, and had just read a memoir about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, a trail that stretches from Mexico to Canada and passes about fifty miles from my backyard. I was all, “Thru-hiking stories! Endurance and pain! Yes! Maybe I’ll finally read Wild!”
This being fiction, and a romance, it was lighter on the hiking details than I was in the mood for. Levi, the sole narrator, is hiking the trail in memory of his sister who died as a soldier overseas. He has never done anything like the Trail before. He was recently on a reality TV show where he traveled the world, so he’s a minor celebrity, but now he wants to just hike and get his head on straight.
A couple of nights into his hike, Levi meets Thad. Thad is a big, strong, silent guy. He likes to stare at the moon. Levi is a talker, and he especially overcompensates around Thad, telling lots of stories about his life. Thad, for whatever reason (because he barely says anything), enjoys having Levi around, so he says that they should hike together.
This is my small interjection to say that I think Levi and Thad were carrying too much food in their packs. There was no talk of starvation, and very little talk of exhaustion. I say this as an armchair reader of one (1) book on the subject. Moving on!
Levi is physically attracted to Thad. He also feels safe with him, which is easy to see given that Thad knows what he’s doing and Levi has a habit of tripping and falling. It turns out that Thad is also gay, but that revelation doesn’t set off an immediate “let’s sleep together” reaction. Although they do share a sleeping bag one night for practical reasons.
This is another small interjection to ask authors to stop having characters share sleeping bags! Sleeping bags are very narrow! Especially lightweight backpacking sleeping bags! Two people could fit in one of those bags if they never moved for the entire night. I say this as a person who has camped more times than she would like. Moving on!
To his credit, Levi eventually tires of Thad’s silent act. No matter that Thad is hot and protective, Levi wants more. He actually gets more, too. Thad manages to say just enough about how much he likes Levi that Levi caves.
I enjoyed Levi’s narration. It felt over-the-top at first, with Levi pointing out how precious and high maintenance he was. But it was also funny and self aware. I was not a fan of Thad, because he seemed to just latch on to Levi. If they had met in the real world, without the forced proximity (and I love some forced proximity), I don’t think they would have worked. Thad wouldn’t be able to make himself enough of a presence because he says so little.
By the end, of course, they each made their concessions and had their character development and made a believable couple. They did not finish hiking the trail.
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Megan Erickson
Release Date: September 20, 2016