I was fortunate to receive an advanced reader’s copy from the publisher and author through Netgalley in exchange for feedback and my honest review. These are my opinions, uninfluenced.
My favourite aspect of this book was the descriptions of nature. Wherever Marly went, I felt like I was right there with her. I could picture every little feeling, from what it looked like to how the wind felt. Mandi Lynn put a lot of effort into researching these places and it really shows. I enjoyed the sense of adventure and considering I’m in lockdown, it really eased my cabin fever.
Marly’s grief in this story was handled really well. You could really see the impact of losing her parents and also how she learned to cope. From the panic attacks to defensive mechanisms, it was really well-executed. It didn’t feel forced or fake, and I really felt for Marly.
Beyond Marly’s grief, I couldn’t tell you much about her (exception: photography). Marly, like the other characters in this book, felt very two-dimensional. There weren’t any layers and they felt flat. I couldn’t relate to them and I didn’t feel attached. Dylan, the love interest, is very sweet and caring. He was really supportive of Marly and I appreciated that. It was enjoyable to read. But beyond that, he once again felt flat. The supporting characters also felt like they were only there to serve as Marly’s support system and didn’t have lives of their own.
The romance between Marly and Dylan was very quick to develop and ‘insta-lovey’. The extent Dylan goes for her, and how Marly responds to him, made no sense to me. It was really hard to believe their love story due to the quick development. There were definitely aspects that had potential. I’m a sucker for growing and healing with the support of another person, but this didn’t hit in the right spot.
I found the pacing to be quite slow as well. It took a long time for everything to happen. Though I loved Mandi Lynn’s description of hiking, I don’t think everything needed to be detailed. We spend a lot of time with Marly’s internal monologues. Like a lot. The massive paragraphs of monologue were really intimidating for me.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read. If you’re looking for an adventurous books in the outdoors to compensate for your quarantining, this is for you. Ideal for those that enjoy slower books.