This installment: survival in the jungle (nf); a good girl gone “bad”—but why? (f); and a trio bound for Mars—maybe (f).
Ruthless River by Holly Fitzgerald
Subtitled Love & Survival by Raft on the Amazon’s Relentless Madre De Dios. I’m a sucker for books like this. Young and footloose, Holly and Fitz got stuck in a tiny backwater in Peru after a plane crash. To continue their journey—no hope of transportation out for three months—they decided to raft down the river which everyone assured them would be a slam-dunk. Hah! It turned into a month of increasingly terrifying events—no land to speak of, getting stuck, running out of food, besieged by insects and more. Rescued close to death, but kept going by sheer grit—and love. Ahh!
My Name is Venus Black by Heather Lloyd
We first meet Venus in prison—a “good girl” who shot her stepdad. Five years later she’s sprung and sets herself up incognito—very determined, very bright, very closed-mouth. But then her younger brother disappears and she has to enter old territory to find him. He has developmental challenges and they were very close. Also she ends up befriending a young girl who is as needy, guarded, and suspicious as she was. A hero’s journey and Venus rises to the challenge. Intense and heart-lifting.
The Wanderers by Meg Howrey
A team of three prospective astronauts is being groomed for a privately-financed journey to Mars. During the test—a protracted simulation– they’re under intense scrutiny and each is determined to do whatever it takes to make the cut. Which means lots of psychological strategizing and obfuscation. Yoshi, Sergei, and Helen all have family complications and very different personalities and strengths, which play out at considerable cost. This is a journey I wouldn’t embark on if you paid me, but like the best travel narratives, the tensions make the story. Intriguing.
Back next week.