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The best thing about The Wolf Road is the voice. Main character and first-person narrator Elka is one badass bitch. She wasn't raised by wolves, but might have been better off if she had been.

Abandoned by her parents after an apocalyptic event, she grew up rough in the woods with a man she called Trapper. He taught her all the survival skills she needed, and maybe a few she didn't. When Elka learns Trapper might not be quite the father figure she thought he was, she lights out on her own on a quest to find her birth parents.

This is a book that feels very much like a Western even though it's set in a dystopian future laid waste by nuclear disaster. It has that brutal but righteous sense of justice about it. There's a lot of adventure, danger, and intrigue, and with just a few hiccups, the action moves along at a good clip.

I haven't had the patience for anything too long, too deep, or too literary for a while now, so I was in the market for a book that would not only keep me turning pages, but give me a reason to pick the book back up when Netflix was calling my name. Elka's dark secrets and rough-as-sandpaper sensibility kept reeling me back in.

With regards to Crown Publishing and NetGalley for the review copy. On sale now!

Find it at your library!

Some authors are able to make first-person narrators real within just a few pages, and Patricia Engel certainly has that gift. Reina’s voice is perfectly authentic from page one. All her complicated feelings about her family are laid bare: her ambivalence towards her flighty mother, the void of feeling where her absent father would have been, and most of all, her guilt and shame over a horrific crime committed by her brother, Carlito, now in solitary confinement on death row.

Reina’s life in adulthood is rootless, with her brother in prison and her mother selling the family home in Miami. Eventually, after yet another devastating personal loss, Reina finds herself drifting down to the Florida Keys. Aimless at first, she is eventually drawn into connections with other people and with the unique Florida landscape, where land and ocean, and everything that lives on and in them, meet.

Engel’s writing is beautiful, and I was quite invested in how Reina’s life would play out, but I think I’ve about reached my saturation point on family dramas. I typically love literary fiction about relationships and dysfunction, and I’m sure I’ll come back around to it again, but for now, I’m looking for more page-turning action than deep introspection. I blame the approach of flip-flop and lemonade weather. There’s something about summer that makes me crave fast, fun reads. Hopefully as this month rolls on, I’ll be able to find a few titles that satisfy that craving.

With regards to Grove Press and NetGalley for the advance copy. On sale today, May 3!