Title: Something Wild & Wonderful
Author: Anita Kelly
Release Date: March 7, 2023
Well this was a wonderful and sweet story! When Alexei Lebedev came out to his parents it went poorly so he decided to use the solitude of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) to figure out what he wants to do next with his life. Along the way he meets charismatic and outgoing Ben Caravalho and finds himself unable to say no when he offers to be his trail partner.
Alexei and Ben had such a sweet and wonderful story. Alexei is a shy, quiet soul who struggles in social situations but thrives being outdoors. He is struggling to deal with his parents disowning him for being gay and with his religion’s part in that. I really enjoyed seeing Alexei open up to Ben and start trying to make changes with his life. He still makes mistakes, like always running away from emotional situations, but by the end he realizes what he wants from life and seeks therapy to help with that. I loved how much growth we see in Alexei in this one, but I did get a bit annoyed by him running from situations.
“Alexei was a butterfly, just emerging from his chrysalis, and he was showing Ben his wings.”
Ben was a sweetheart who really brought Alexei out of his shell. Ben is struggling with his self worth because he is just now finding out what he wants to do with his life. His toxic relationships have made him feel like he isn’t worthy but we see him start to let go of that in this. Ben was just a sweet man who loved to take care of people and Alexei fit him perfectly.
This book was beautifully written and I loved how it was broken down into different parts of their journey and time apart. I found the chapter written in just letters to be so emotional and heartbreaking, but also very healthy for both Alexei and Ben. I loved that we get to see them voice their emotions that they would have probably hid if they had been together. One of the best things about this book for me was that Alexei shows you don’t have to forgive your family for their actions, but you do have to move on. It isn’t healthy to expect them to change so seek help and move on with your life.
Overall, this was another amazing novel from Anita Kelly. I really enjoy their writing and they really know how to create an emotional story with great characters.
Trigger Warnings: Alexei was disowned by his parents when he came out as gay; strict religions upbringing discussed; anxiety; on page alcohol usage; homophobic language (Ch. 16); family member with Alzheimer’s and their care discussed; brief references to past toxic relationships;
*ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
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