Timely. Terrifying. Heartbreaking. Yes, THE WILDLANDS by Abby Geni with its examination of human impact on the natural world is timely. The wildlife and environmental realities it highlights are terrifying. And the characters – a family of orphans – suffer heartbreaking loss over and over.

There is much to love in this book, which, thematically, is my cuppa: nature-infused and character-driven. I’m not a thriller reader and generally not a fan of first-person narrative (though part of this book is also third-person), so those may be the only trivial reasons this was a 4 vs. a 5 for me.

Even with those tiny nitpicks, I was swept away by the moral questions THE WILDLANDS posed, as well as the unspoken questions about human responsibility to the natural world. When does passion for a cause turn dangerous? Does it have to? Can you believe in a thing too strongly? Nature enthusiast that I am, I related in so many ways to Tucker, even if I didn’t agree with his methods of creating awareness.

For those who may not be familiar with the scientific community’s concern about the rapidly changing earth, there are factual lessons within this fictional story that are worth contemplating. Geni, the author, has done a wondrous job of creating awareness without preaching. This is, at its heart, a story about family and devotion.

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