Summary (from the publisher):
Calla Fletcher wasn’t even two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when Calla learns that Wren’s days may be numbered, she knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.
She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this rugged environment, Jonah—the unkempt, obnoxious, and proud Alaskan pilot who helps keep her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.
Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. Soon, she finds herself forming an unexpected bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago. It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
New adult books happily took up some of my May reading life. While YA will forever be my favorite and go-to genre, I’ve been reaching for new adult lately for the maturity (yes, romance included) and characters closer to where I am in my own life. K.A. Tucker’s The Simple Wild crossed my TBR radar earlier this year, as many of us bloggers like reading about characters who are also bloggers. Twenty six-year old Calla is uprooted from her comfortable life in Toronto, where she helps run a fashion and lifestyle blog, to the Alaskan wild to get to know her estranged father.
Aside from Calla being a blogger, what really sold me to pick up The Simple Wild was its Alaskan setting. This unique setting is often not done too much, but when it is, I often love those books, like the gem that is Bonnie Sue Hitchcock’s The Smell of Other People’s Houses. The Simple Wild delivers on this setting, as K.A. Tucker transports readers to small town and village life in the fictional Bagnor, Alaska. The remote and nature-filled setting felt really peaceful and quaint (aside from all of Calla’s dreaded mosquitoes of course). This setting really allows Calla to understand her father and perhaps why he never left Alaska. The close knit community also helped welcome Calla into their lifestyle- no lattes with soy milk fortunately or unfortunately included.
While there is some romance (more on that later), The Simple Wild really hits home on its family focus and character growth. Calla and her father, Wren, are in a tough situation. Although they have finally given themselves the opportunity to get to know each other, they must again contend with time in light of Wren’s illness. I really enjoyed getting to see them warm up to each other, no matter how bittersweet. As mentioned before, it was nice to see Calla understand her father’s life more, from getting involved in his airplane business to getting to know his built-in family, Agnes and Mabel. Calla’s bond with everyone (including Jonah’s tricks) also brought of her appreciation for Alaska and their lifestyle. I’m really not a crier when it comes to books, but the last few chapters of The Simple Wild left tears in my eyes, again with its bittersweetness.
Romance is often a common theme in the new adult genre, The Simple Wild no exception. Like many readers, my hands-down favorite character was the Alaskan yeti is the pilot Jonah. Jonah definitely brought Calla down to earth, even if it meant making her leave her designer threads behind. Jonah and Calla are a perfect example of opposites attract. I loved seeing them warm up to one another (in a variety of ways), but their sarcasm was my favorite part of their relationship. While Jonah sees Calla as Barbie, Calla sees the pilot as a wild man, like so:
“When I return, Jonah’s sitting in my seat. Thankfully, there’s no raccoon in sight.
‘What is this?’ he asks, nodding towards my MacBook.
‘A computer.’ ” (130).
What prevented me from giving The Simple Wild five stars comes down to two factors. First, I really wasn’t that big of a Calla fan in the book’s first hundred pages. I understand her over-the-top attitude in the beginning is to help mark her transformation, but she was a bit much when she was still in Canada. I definitely didn’t feel bad for her when she broke her Louboutin taking out the garbage. Calla’s mother was also really over-the-top. Another reason why I appreciated Jonah was making Calla see that her and her mother had some responsibility in her estrangement with her father. Additionally, I wasn’t a huge fan of the book’s ending. It was cute, but I felt like this story needed more resolution, considering Calla’s character growth (unless K.A. Tucker has book #2 in store, which I would happily support).
Overall, The Simple Wild was such an atmospheric read that made me really appreciate its focus on family and character growth. I’m looking forward to picking up K.A. Tucker’s upcoming August 2019 release, Say You Still Love Me.
Have you read The Simple Wild? Share in the comments!