Happy Thursday, Reading Nook!
Today, we're reviewing several books, beginning with the fabulous Wild Hearts.
I've made it a point to seek out the If Only series, ever since reading the totally excellent Not in the Script. I had a feeling that Wild Hearts would be awesome - cowboys! open plains! forbidden love! - and I was right.
Paperback, 368 pages
Published May 5th 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
But author Jessica Burkhart goes beyond just a typical cowboy romance in Wild Hearts, by giving her characters wit, curiosity and heart. Brie and Logan find each and inspire each other in this sweet book, and I'm confident that they'll inspire you too.
Like a Western Romeo and Juliet, this fourth title in the If Only line proves love flourishes in the wildest places!
(I'm going to blame this on the fact that my parents let me watch a lot of cowboy westerns when I was little. I was probably the only five-year-old who had a crush on John Wayne...)
So when I heard about Wild Hearts, I was immediately interested. Add in the fact that the book was part of the If Only imprint from Bloomsbury - a line that I've loved, since reading Not in the Script - I knew that I'd most likely love this book. And I was right.
Jessica Burkhart introduces us to Brie Carter, a girl who has spent most of her living moving from city to city, because of her father's developer job. So when the Carter family moves to Lost Springs, Wyoming, Brie figures that this is just going to be another stop, before they get on their way again. However, life and a cute cowboy named Logan quickly intervene...
From the start, it's impossible not to like Brie Carter. Unlike many of her YA counterparts, Burkhart makes it clear that this is a girl who is absolutely eager to seek out new experiences and new opportunities in life. Brie embraces each move as an opportunity to meet new people and learn new things, and it's a refreshing attitude that I absolutely wish I would see more of in YA.
So it's an unpleasant surprise, when Brie realizes that not everyone in the town is happy about Brie's father's development. But rather than go the stereotypical teenaged route of throwing a tantrum, or turning away from the town, Burkhart opts to have Brie choose the difficult option. She seeks out town members to find out why they are so opposed to her father's development, and what she can learn from them.
As Brie realizes that the town is worried about the wild mustangs being impacted by the development, there's an underlying nod to the idea that nothing is ever black and white in these situations. Burkhart wisely shows that both Brie's father and the town have the right points and their wrong points - a town member goes too far in his attempts to protest - and how sometimes, people of opposing view points have to work together, to come to a mutually agreeable situation.
It's through this experience that Brie grows herself, and begins to learn how to take a stand for herself in this situation, and in life. She recognizes that moving a lot has maybe prevented her from developing a firm interest up to this point, and it's her work with the mustangs that take root and help her grow, including in her skills to defuse awkward situations. (Wiley leading journalists, ahoy!)
Outside of Brie's journey, the romance between Brie and Logan is adorable and fantastic. Burkhart shows how the two of them really do open each other's eyes to different worlds, and how they bring out to the best in one another. Without being cliched, Burkhart also shows how it's their romance that inspires the adults to rethink their prejudices and band together to save the mustangs, which is awesome, all around.
And while Brie and Logan's relationship doesn't necessarily have a perfect ending, Burkhart again shows pragmatism and optimsim, by giving them a perfectly resourceful ending.
Bottom line: I adore this book, full stop.
However, Brie also shines in her interactions with Logan, and vice versa. This is truly a teen romance where the couple bring out the best in one another, and a great reminder of how teenaged relationships can be romantic AND inspiring.
Bottom line: I enjoyed this book a ridiculous amount, and I'm going to have to insist that everyone I know also read this right away. I highly recommend this book for all fans of contemporary romance, full stop. If you like authors like Kasie West and Huntley Fitzpatrick, this book is for you.
About the author:
Twenty-seven year old JESSICA BURKHART is a full-time writer from Brooklyn, NY. She is the author of the 20-book Canterwood Crest series, which has over 500,000 copies in print. She also has an essay in a young adult anthology, Dear Teen Me, under her real name, Jess Ashley. www.jessicaburkhart.com • @jessicaburkhart