Beautiful Wild

HarperTeen. Nov. 2020. 368p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780062679857.
Gr 8 Up–Seventeen-year-old Vida Hazzard yearns for a life of thrills. Her personal philosophy is, “Why try to stand out in a crowd when you could rise above like a shining star?” But in her early 20th-century aristocratic-adjacent household, her antics leave much to be desired. Her parents, fearing a scandal, believe that it is high time for her to settle down before she tarnishes her good name. Enter Fitzhugh Farrar, the sandy-haired, blue-eyed, and highly eligible son of the Winthrop-Farrar ship line whose family ship, the Princess of the Pacific, is about to set sail with him on it. Vida’s parents find them all a spot onboard with the sole intention of securing a match, but Vida quickly encounters Fitz’s rakish best friend Sal, described as “sun-dark” with dark eyes, a man of no fortune and a wilder heart than her own. When they are shipwrecked and Vida is stranded with both boys, she finds herself torn between obligation and desire. The writing and naming conventions in this story leave a bit to be desired, but the plot rolls readers right along, hitting each note with no real surprises. Vida is described as pale-skinned with “eyes a color as shifting as fool’s gold.” Though at the time this book was set, characters of color would have been present, none are described or featured.
VERDICT A serviceable romance. Fans of the author’s “Luxe” series and those with a penchant for shipwreck stories will be drawn in.

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