REVIEW: Something Wilder by Christina Lauren

In brief: Lily Wilder runs treasure hunts in the wilds of Utah, after her beloved ranch was sold. Then her first and only love, Leo, appears on her tour. But this tour will be wilder than anything they can imagine…

The good: New Christina Lauren with adventure! Romance! Riddles!

The not-so-good: Sometimes the adventure got a bit too edge of your seat for me.

Why I chose it: Thanks to Hachette for the copy, I think my local bookshop was happy for me not to stalk them on release day!

Year: 2022

Pages: 366

Publisher: Piatkus (Hachette)

Setting: Utah and Wyoming, USA

Rating: 9 out of 10

A new Christina Lauren novel is always a reason for joy. Their new novel, Something Wilder, takes the romance to a new, unexpected location and combines it with adventure and danger. It works very well, although sometimes the adventure for a bit too adventurous for me! (I don’t want my favourite characters to be in mortal danger!) Of course, there is a happy ending and how it pans out is one of the major delights of the story.

Lily Wilder is down on her luck. She runs treasure hunting tours in country Utah to make ends meet. It’s not where her heart is (treasure hunting was her father’s passion, not hers). Lily longs for her horses and ranch in Wyoming but that’s long gone. Now she takes wannabe cowboys on tours for a week before they return to their city lives. Leo is one of those city boys. He’s here with his best friends (and one oddball) on a tour for their annual bro-vacation. He’s shocked to see Lily, his first love who he had to leave suddenly many years ago. Leo is keen to catch up, but Lily won’t have it. She doesn’t need her heart broken again; this is a business trip. But the tour is…awkward. Hanger on Terry is both weird and dangerous and the stakes for treasure get higher than Lily or Leo expected. As the treasure hunt turns into a high stakes event, can Lily and Leo reconnect to keep their heads above water? Or even just stay alive in the treacherous wilderness?

Something Wilder is a little bit different to more recent Christina Lauren novels. Lily is pretty down on her luck, and the rural setting is different too. But I trust them to take me on a great journey no matter what, and I definitely got that. The stakes are higher thanks to the adventure too – it got pretty urgent at times, which I wasn’t so used to! While Leo and Lily are great characters, Terry is just plain awful. He’s a misogynist with some weird ideas who doesn’t play be the rules. Having such an odious character in a romance was different and it added to the tension. As for the adventure, I loved the clues and riddles. They were genuinely difficult, but also involved logic that meant the reader could come close to solving them. There were definitely no leaps of faith here! The backstory of Lily’s dad being a treasure hunter was also both unique and fascinating. It’s a little bit dark, a little bit crazy and quite a lot of fun. Go in to this novel prepared to be amazed and let Christina Lauren take you on a very wild ride!

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