Zack Ramos is training for two things: being a parent to his twelve-year-old sister once his mother’s early-onset Alzheimer’s (the same kind he and his sister each have a 50% chance of developing–but let’s not think about that) progresses too far, and running a one hundred mile race through the mountains of Tennessee. His support system is longtime girlfriend Jordan Jonas, who’s sweet, sarcastic, and entirely virtual. They’ve been talking for years but still have never met in person. Because Jordan, it turns out, was still waiting for the right time to tell him that she’s Deaf.
The revelation brings them closer together, and Zack throws himself into learning sign language and trying to navigate their way through their different cultures. But with the stress of a tumultuous relationship, a new language, a sick mother, and his uncertain future, there’s going to be a breaking point…and it might be out there in the Tennessee wild.
I received an eARC from author Hannah Moskowitz in exchange for an honest review.
I also should admit that I watched Hannah write Wild on twitter as #deafromance, so I was pretty sure I was going to love it once I got a review copy. I was right!
It was not as happy go lucky as I expected it to be, and that wasn’t a bad thing for me.
The anxiety that Zack feels is so present throughout this novel that you can almost feel it clawing at your throat as you read. It’s present even while he and Jordan are relaxing and having fun. It’s exactly the way some people feel when they are caretakers for their parents or grandparents. We lost my grandfather to Alzheimer’s last year, and this brought back some of those memories, even though I was not his primary caretaker by any means.
Dementia is such a hard thing to write well, but Hannah did a great job with it, treating it as terrifying and heartbreaking while still allowing Zack’s mom to still be her own person – something that Zack and Gin were working to do themselves.
I really liked the romance in this book, though. I’m really glad Zack and Jordan called each other out on their bullshit, and that they learned to be together in real life as well as they did online. I think Jordan could have tried a lot harder to get to know Zack’s friends earlier, but I understand why she didn’t.
My only big complaint about this novel is that it ended sort of abruptly. I would have liked to have seen a little bit more after the race, with Jordan getting ready to leave for college, or Zack doing what he talks about near the end of the book. Overall, this was a four star read for me for those reasons. You can pick up a copy on Amazon, where it is on Kindle Unlimited!
Disclaimer: All links to Indiebound and Amazon are affiliate links, which means that if you buy through those links, I will make a small amount of money off of it.