Wildman by J.C. Geiger
Lance Hendricks is homeward bound, four hundred highway miles from the best night of his life. There’s an epic graduation party brewing, his girlfriend will be there, and they’ve got a private bedroom with their names on it. When his ’93 Buick breaks down in the middle of nowhere, Lance is sure he’ll be back on the road in no time. After all, he’s the high school valedictorian. First chair trumpet player. Scholarship winner. Nothing can stop Lance Hendricks.
But afternoon turns to night, and Lance ends up stranded at the Trainsong Motel. The place feels ominous, even before there’s a terrible car wreck outside his room. When Lance rushes out to help, the townies take notice. They call him Wildman, and an intriguing local girl asks him to join in their nighttime adventures. He begins to live up to his new name. As one day blurs into the next, Lance finds himself in a bar fight, jumping a train, avoiding the police. Drifting farther from home and closer to a girl who makes him feel a way he’s never felt before—like himself.
SOURCE: ARC via publisher for review (Thanks!!)
Lance – This was Lance’s story completely so I didn’t really feel like we brushed as much with other characters. (Though some I would have loved to get more information on, maybe it could open up for a companion novel?). Lance was relatable, I mean who hasn’t been a teen (or even an adult) who is at a crosswords and is torn between what is right for you versus what is expected of you? With that being said I completely understood his need to defy or break a few rules to know that he can be his own person and make his own choices, good or bad. A+ on the indecision aspect.
When this one was compared to The Serpent King I knew this would go on my TBR list. Then there was a line in the description/blurb that hooked me and I knew I needed to read it sooner rather than later. ‘This debut novel by a remarkable new talent explores the relationship between identity and place’ This hit me in the gut. I struggle with who I am in relation to where I live versus who I feel like I am truly all the time. I’m not going to get too heavy on this front. My struggle is living in a conservative south with liberal opinions, nothing that I can’t deal with or even comparable to others struggles with serious issues but non the less this phrase hit me.
Lance’s journey through town and how each person influenced his next step while trying to balance communication with his life back home was complex and meaningful. He met what I’d call classic small town characters that were spot on and then some out of the box free thinkers, again spot on though a rare site in small towns. Overall a great debut.