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Review: WILDMAN

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Title: WILDMAN
Author: J.C. Geiger
Release date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 336
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

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Description…

“How can a total stranger understand you better than the people you’ve known your entire life?”

When Lance’s ’93 Buick breaks down in the middle of nowhere, he tells himself Don’t panic. After all, he’s valedictorian of his class. First-chair trumpet player. Scholarship winner. Nothing can stop Lance Hendricks.

But the locals don’t know that. They don’t even know his name. Stuck in a small town, Lance could be anyone: a delinquent, a traveler, a maniac. One of the townies calls him Wildman, and a new world opens up.

He’s ordering drinks at a roadhouse. Jumping a train. Talking to an intriguing older girl who is asking about his future. And what he really wants. As one day blurs into the next, Lance finds himself drifting farther from home and closer to a girl who makes him feel a way he’s never felt before—like himself.

This debut novel by a remarkable new talent explores the relationship between identity and place, the power of being seen, and the speed at which a well-planned life can change forever.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | INDIEBOUND | DISNEY BOOKS | GOODREADS

Note: This review is based on an ARC received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book. A Kindle eCopy was purchased for my collection.


The Review

J.C. Geiger’s WILDMAN is interesting and thought-provoking and strangely compelling. With a remote setting, an unusual cast of characters, a melodic, dreamlike quality to the writing, an unhurried pace, and an uncertain destination, it is a story that will draw you in, pique your curiosity, and make you think about choices and possibilities and friendships and labels and open roads and roads not taken.

Lance Hendricks had his near future mapped out for him. He would give his valedictory speech. He would spend his summer working at the bank. He would use his full ride at OSU to get a degree in business that would guarantee him a good paying job. He would earn enough money so that someday he would have the freedom to do what made him happy.

He did not plan for his car to break down hundreds of miles from home in the middle of nowhere. He did not plan to miss the party that would finally give him and his girlfriend, Miriam, some time alone. He did not plan to blow off his mom, his friends, his job, his school, his future.

But then again he hadn’t planned on saving a life, losing a bet, getting into a fight, making new friends, getting a nickname or a few, having an adventure. And he certainly did not plan on Dakota.

Author J.C. Geiger offers up a lot of food for thought throughout his story. He’ll make you think about luck and chance and what if. He’ll make you wonder about how much of a hand you’ve really had in the decisions you’ve made, how many clues the universe has given you that you might have missed, how often you’ve delayed gratification for the possibility of a better future instead of opting for the guarantee of a better now.

The author introduces a character who isn’t the easiest to get a read on or to connect with but who is captivating and intriguing. Lance is both predictable and a bit of a mystery. He is definable and indefinable. He is different things to different people. He knows what he wants and yet doesn’t have the first clue about what he wants. His thoughts are shifting, fluid, wavering, wandering, his moods mercurial, his actions unreliable. And still he is immensely likable.

WILDMAN is a beautiful and bittersweet and haunting and hopeful debut that will make you fall in love with the quirky inhabitants of the town, the middle of the night call of the train, a ’93 Buick, a boy who won’t be defined by stereotype, and the possibility that nothing is set in stone. It is a memorable and original and offbeat and outstanding summer must must read.

The Rating


About J.C. Geiger

J. C. Geiger has eaten the beating heart of a snake, been deported from a full-moon party, and spent a short time locked in a Bolivian prison. He also writes fiction. His short works have appeared in the pages of Murky Depths and Horror Garage, and onstage at The Second City in Chicago. His debut novel WILDMAN will be released by Disney-Hyperion in May, 2017.

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