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Title: Into the Jungle
Author: Erica Ferencik
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Publish Date: May 28, 2019
Genre: Mystery Thriller
My Rating: 3/5
Lily Bushwold thought she’d found the antidote to endless foster care and group homes: a gig teaching English in Cochabamba, Bolivia. As soon as she could steal enough cash for the plane, she was on it.
But the program was a scam. And bonding with other broke, rudderless girls in the local youth hostel wasn’t the answer. Falling crazy in love with Omar, a savvy, handsome local who’d left his life as a hunter in Ayachero—a remote jungle village—to try city life: this was the last thing Lily could have imagined.
When Omar learns that a jaguar had 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 the ever-more-isolated string of river towns in the jungles of Bolivia. Thirty-foot anacondas? Puppy-sized spiders? Vengeful shamans with unspeakable powers? None of it matters to love-struck Lily. She follows Omar to a 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—and all its residents—using only her wits and resilience.
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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.
Into the Jungle is 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.
Books by Erica Ferencik:
- The River at Night
- Into the Jungle