Review: Wilder by Rebecca Yarros

Reviewed by Joanna

Leah Baxter has signed up for a year studying on a cruise ship with the Study At Sea program. I’ve never heard of this, but I think lots of rich kids for a year on an ocean cruiser, partying at each port whilst doing a little studying in between.

Our girl is no party animal, nor is she rich. She has hidden herself away for the past two years because of a Bad Event, but wants to get into a graduate course in International Relations, and the study program will do nicely to help towards that.

Her bed and board is paid as she’s working as a tutor to a young, handsome and rich daredevil named Paxton Wilder. He’s the leader of the Renegades, YouTube sensation and doer of stunts. He jumps off things, zips, flies, dips and wows. He’s a five times X Games gold medal winner, which is an extreme sports thing, and highly cool. I know this because I enjoy immersing myself in books, so I ogled watched some of these crazy athletes whilst reading.

Of course, Leah has never heard of Paxton. She’s somewhat grumpy with the guy cos she’s too attracted to him, and has a whole attitude of work work work and no fun because of her unhappy past. She was meant to be on the trip with her bestie, but bestie got sick so is missing the first three months. That means Leah is both alone and out of her comfort zone.

Paxton, of course, is taken with the first girl in forever who doesn’t want him, but he knows to keep his hands off because they have to work together. Plus, if he fails his schooling, he loses his trust fund. Poor handsome boy.

Except there’s more to it than that. More than one person’s future rides on the movie that Paxton’s constantly attendant camera crew are filming. He needs the movie to be made, he needs to study, and Leah is an intrinsic part of that so lots of people’s jobs rely on her falling in with the crazy life that the Renegades live.

Our H&H fall into a friendship amongst the azure seas around Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, and naturally it turns into more.

Recently I wrote about a novel which didn’t use flashy locations or fast cars to wow the audience, relying instead on personalities and the relationship and love to tell the story (Molly O’Keefe’s Bad Neighbor). This is the polar opposite novel. It’s highly flashy and there’s less character development. That isn’t to say it’s worse, as I liked the flashy. The stunts were cool, and the locations interesting. I could’ve done with a little more scene detail and emotion, as the novel coasted over this a fair amount.

I wanted to know more about Paxton, as in the opening chapters he was all about the wow and I wanted more substance. I wanted to see him and Leah sit down together and study and get to know one another. Their early exchanges mostly happened via stunts he pulled her into.

The story moves apace, flitting from one sparkling port to another as the Renegades build up to some big deal event at the end of the first term. There’s drama and suspected sabotage as stunts go wrong, and as Leah and Pax get closer, she becomes at risk. This is too close to home to her unhappy past, and she has to decide if a daredevil can be the guy for her.

Overall I liked the characters and enjoyed the excitement of the story. It’s HEA and around a medium, heat-wise. I’ll definitely go on and read the next story. One of the other Renegades doesn’t know what’s about to hit him, and I want to witness that.

Rating: B+

Click to purchase: Amazon

Wilder
by Rebecca Yarros
Release Date: September 19, 2016

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