Thursday, February 26, 2015

Review: Wandering Wild by Jessica Taylor

Raised by Wanderers, sixteen-year-old Tal travels the roads of the southern wild in her Chevy by day and camps in her tent trailer at night. Hustling, conning, and grifting her way into just enough cash to save her fifteen-year-old brother, Wen, from bare-knuckle fighting was once enough to keep her dreams of traveling the whole world at bay. Everything changes when the Wanderers set up camp in a little town called Cedar Falls.

There, Spencer Sway, a boy Tal tried to hustle at a game of billiards, keeps popping up into her life—and worst of all—into her scams. Buttoned-up, starched-and-ironed Spencer talks of places where Tal’s truck can’t take her. His promises of traveling across oceans are almost enough to shatter her love of the Wanderer life.

When a boy shows up at camp, ready to make good on a nearly-forgotten arranged marriage to Tal, Tal and Wen make a pact: No matter the cost, they will use their limitless skills of grift to earn the bride price and buy back her future—even if Spencer Sway gets used along the way.

Okay, let me give you the low down on this one. It's about this girl ... who happens to be a gypsy ... I'm sorry ... wanderer ... (WHICH IS A DAMN GYPSY) ... who is a con-artist and claims to be a compass (she tells her band of merry gypsies wanderers where to go) but she knows she isn't a compass but thinks that she might be the compass that everyone thinks she is when she thinks she might not be but probably is (confusing, huh) ... who follows her non-compass gut to some weird podunk town where the people hate gypsies wanderers but falls for Spencer Sway (she sways his way and/or sways on her previous conviction of being a wanderer ... see what Jessica Taylor did there?). Yeah.

So ... I don't know how to say this ... but I don't get it. I don't understand why this story needed to be told, I don't understand what it was trying to convey, I don't understand the motivation behind the characters or the author. I just don't get it. I mean, I UNDERSTAND it, it's not written in Swahili but it was just a non-story for me. Why oh, why?!? I read the blurb for this damn thing and I was intrigued. Intrigued! But after the first couple of chapters, I was just bogged down with boring-ness and the long-winded paragraphs. Geez. Reading a book should NEVER be a chore. I should never feel like I am trudging through quicksand trying to save myself.

Wandering Wild swaps back and forth between what's going on now and what has happened in the past and these transitions were anything but smooth. I often found myself wondering if I was in present day or in the middle of a flashback. Now, I'm not an author and I don't know how in the hell to pull off flashbacks but this was not the way. At. All. It felt unnatural and it stilted the entire flow of the story. The flashbacks provided interesting information, the content was never an issue ... it was the presentation, I guess. 

To be honest, this read more like it was about a cult rather than a very large group of gypsies wanderers. It was weird and unnecessarily violent, I think. I don't know, I just didn't get it, I guess. I'll be honest, the reason it got two stars instead of one was because I actually fought the battle of boring and pushed through to the end. 

It needs to be said that this book has received super high ratings. Honestly, I don't know if these other people had a different version of the book or what, because surely we aren't reading the same thing. Anyway, I am definitely in the minority with my views and I could very well be wrong and this is going to be a best seller. It's just not one for me.

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