Title: Into the Jungle
Author: Erica Ferencik
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Publish Date: May 28, 2019
Genre: Magical Realism
My Rating: 3/5
In this pulse-pounding thriller from the author of the “haunting, twisting thrill ride” (Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author) The River at Night, a young woman leaves behind everything she knows to take on the Bolivian jungle, but her excursion abroad quickly turns into a fight for her life.
Lily Bushwold thought she’d found the antidote to endless foster care and group homes: a teaching job in Cochabamba, Bolivia. As soon as she could steal enough cash for the plane, she was on it.
When the gig falls through and Lily stays in Bolivia, she finds bonding with other broke, rudderless girls at the local hostel isn’t the life she wants either. Tired of hustling and already world-weary, crazy love finds her in the form she least expected: Omar, a savvy, handsome local man who’d abandoned his life as a hunter in Ayachero—a remote jungle village—to try his hand at city life.
When Omar learns that a jaguar has killed his four-year-old nephew in Ayachero, he gives Lily a choice: Stay alone in the unforgiving city, or travel to the last in a string of ever-more-isolated river towns in the jungles of Bolivia. Thirty-foot anaconda? Puppy-sized spiders? Vengeful shamans with unspeakable powers? Love-struck Lily is oblivious. She follows Omar to this ruthless new world of lawless poachers, bullheaded missionaries, and desperate indigenous tribes driven to the brink of extinction. To survive, Lily must navigate the jungle–its wonders as well as its terrors—using only her wits and resilience.
Primal, gripping, and terrifying, Into the Jungle features Erica Ferencik’s signature “visceral, white-knuckle” (Entertainment Weekly) prose that will sink its fangs into you and not let go.
Lily is a young woman who moves to Bolivia to escape her not-so-great life in the US. When her work plans in Bolivia fall through, she decides to stay anyway. She makes some friends, has fun, and meets Omar. She falls hard for Omar, a local man from a remote jungle village. Omar learns that his nephew was killed by a jaguar, so he plans to return to the village. He asks Lily to travel into the jungle with him. She is in love, and follows Omar to live in a jungle village that no one has ever heard of. Lily is unprepared for what meets her.
Since Lily is young and in love, she agrees to travel to a remote village without really knowing anything about the jungle. Really, Lily seems aimless, but she has one thing going for her. She’s determined. Jungle life turns out to be much more challenging than she anticipated, but she works to find her place in the community.
This starts as a slow-paced novel, but gets more thrilling toward the end. It also gets more unrealistic as the story progresses. In addition to the adventure story, there are also moments of magical realism. I wasn’t expecting the magical realism element, but found it enjoyable. For the most part, I liked the story and was rooting for Lily to find her place in the jungle village.
An enjoyable read that combines adventure, thriller, women’s fiction, and magical realism. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of the jungle. Exciting, mysterious, and wild.