Be the Girl by KA Tucker ~ Sarah A’s Review

From the national bestselling author of the Ten Tiny Breaths series and The Simple Wild comes a poignant story about a girl trying to change her future while evading her past.

Almost sixteen-year-old Aria Jones is starting over. New postal code, new last name, new rules. But she doesn’t mind, because it means she can leave her painful regrets behind. In the bustling town of Eastmonte, she can become someone else. Someone better.

With the Hartford family living next door, it seems she will succeed. Sure, Cassie Hartford may be the epitome of social awkwardness thanks to her autism, but she also offers an innocent and sincere friendship that Aria learns to appreciate. And Cassie’s older brother, Emmett—a popular Junior A hockey player with a bright future—well … Aria wishes that friendship could lead to something more. If he didn’t already have a girlfriend, maybe it would.

But Aria soon finds herself in a dicey moral predicament that could derail her attempt at a fresh start. It is her loyalty to Cassie and her growing crush on Emmett that leads her to make a risky move, one that earns her a vindictive enemy who is determined to splinter her happy new world.

I swear I have been staring at a blank screen trying to write this review for nearly a week. I have no words to do this book justice, I feel like I can’t say too much without giving away the power and beauty of this story, and I really want to convince people – especially those with middle school and high school age children to pick up this book, read it themselves then hand it over to their children so they can see the pitfalls of ‘harmless’ teasing and pranks. Be the Girl may be fiction, but the circumstances the characters encountered in the book, the consequences of their actions are all too real for a lot of people. Be the Girl is a timely piece of young adult fiction and contains a critical message.

Aria was easy to relate to. Her insecurities were so intrinsic to most people’s high school experience; there was no problem finding some part of her story that felt personal. I was often impressed with her empathy and acceptance of those around her, and when I found out why she had developed those skills, I was both a little shocked and a little heartbroken. Hers wasn’t an easy story to tell, but it was a highly important one.

Cassie was the shining star of this book. She is why all the other characters seemed so rich. I often found myself wishing I could have seen what was going on from her perspective, but I think seeing her through Aria’s eyes made Aria a more sympathetic character, and that was important in this story. I could feel Ms. Tucker’s personal connection to Cassie through the entire novel and after reading her note at the end of the book, I was so happy that she shared that special part of her life with her readers.

Be the Girl is a book based on looking past the surface, finding the truth of the situation and then distilling that truth into the most basic compulsions of human beings. Humans are inherently flawed, even the greatest among us make mistakes, and Be the Girl did a remarkable job of exposing those flaws, those mistakes, and then laying out the aftermath. I was highly impressed with the message of learning and forgiveness Ms. Tucker laid out in the book and will think of Aria and Cassie for a long time to come.

K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge.

She is the USA Today bestselling author of 18 books, including the Causal Enchantment, Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series, He Will Be My Ruin, Until It Fades, Keep Her Safe, The Simple Wild, and Be the Girl. Her books have been featured in national publications including USA Today, Globe & Mail, Suspense Magazine, First for Women, and Publisher’s Weekly. She has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance 2013 for TEN TINY BREATHS and Best Romance 2018 for THE SIMPLE WILD. Her novels have been translated into 16 languages.

K.A. Tucker currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband and two beautiful girls.

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NEW RELEASE!! Be the Girl by KA Tucker

From the national bestselling author of the Ten Tiny Breaths series and The Simple Wild comes a poignant story about a girl trying to change her future while evading her past.

Almost sixteen-year-old Aria Jones is starting over. New postal code, new last name, new rules. But she doesn’t mind, because it means she can leave her painful regrets behind. In the bustling town of Eastmonte, she can become someone else. Someone better.

With the Hartford family living next door, it seems she will succeed. Sure, Cassie Hartford may be the epitome of social awkwardness thanks to her autism, but she also offers an innocent and sincere friendship that Aria learns to appreciate. And Cassie’s older brother, Emmett—a popular Junior A hockey player with a bright future—well … Aria wishes that friendship could lead to something more. If he didn’t already have a girlfriend, maybe it would.

But Aria soon finds herself in a dicey moral predicament that could derail her attempt at a fresh start. It is her loyalty to Cassie and her growing crush on Emmett that leads her to make a risky move, one that earns her a vindictive enemy who is determined to splinter her happy new world.

K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge.

She is the USA Today bestselling author of 18 books, including the Causal Enchantment, Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series, He Will Be My Ruin, Until It Fades, Keep Her Safe, The Simple Wild, and Be the Girl. Her books have been featured in national publications including USA Today, Globe & Mail, Suspense Magazine, First for Women, and Publisher’s Weekly. She has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance 2013 for TEN TINY BREATHS and Best Romance 2018 for THE SIMPLE WILD. Her novels have been translated into 16 languages.

K.A. Tucker currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband and two beautiful girls.

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The Simple Wild by KA Tucker ~ Sarah A’s Review

Calla Fletcher wasn’t even two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when Calla learns that Wren’s days may be numbered, she knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.

She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this rugged environment, Jonah—the unkempt, obnoxious, and proud Alaskan pilot who helps keep her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.

Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. Soon, she finds herself forming an unexpected bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago. It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.

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The Simple Wild is billed as a romance novel, but I felt like the romance in this novel played second fiddle to the more powerful story of Calla finding herself and figuring out what was truly important to her in life. I’d definitely qualify this book as women’s fiction, rather than romance.

Calla was an insipid child when this book first started; I found her superficial, immature, and irresponsible. Despite living with her mother and step-father, having a good job for four years, and basically having no bills, she was still reliant on her step-father to buy her a plane ticket. She was more obsessed with her shoes and getting an insta-worthy photo than she was other human beings. In short, she was self-absorbed and materialistic. Throughout the novel Calla grew, so much, she learned more about herself, the world, and all different types of love than she could have anticipated when she decided to visit her father. Her growth arc in this book was everything. Calla, much like her Instagram posts, evolved from a thing of shallow frivolity to a person more concerned with substance, interpersonal connections, and true happiness.

As much as I didn’t feel like the romantic element of was the focal point of The Simple Wild, it did play a vital role in helping Calla grow. Jonah was instrumental in making her see the world as more than just the sum of its parts; he forced her to see the humanity behind the masses. He pushed her so far out of her comfort-zone she had no choice but to recalibrate her life and find a new outlook. And while he was doing all that, he was also helping her come to terms with the pending loss of the father she was barely getting to know. Her journey to Alaska was her catalyst to change, but Jonah was one of the major reactants that stimulated her rebirth.

I quite enjoyed the plot of The Simple Wild. It was intriguing and unlike anything I’ve read in recent memory; it was also wholly dependent on the location of the novel. Though I’ve never visited Alaska – it’s a bucket list item for me – I felt like I was there with Calla, Jonah, and the crew. I especially appreciated the juxtaposition of the well-dressed, appearance-obsessed, city girl against the simplicity and grittiness of the Alaskan tundra. In truth, Alaska was just as much a character in this book as the people were and it contributed in so many ways to move this book forward. The Simple Wild gave me a glimpse of a different, slower, simpler way of life and it felt almost like a balm to my soul to know there is still a world independent of the hustle and bustle of the instant gratification of the digital lives to which we are all so accustomed.

I’ve read a handful of KA Tucker books and always find them fascinating in ways I haven’t anticipated. I’m not sure how she’s so capable of taking a concept and turning it on its head, but she consistently makes me think I’m going into a particular type of story then, when I come out the other side, I find I have experienced something unexpected and entirely new. Her prose has a phenomenal way of drawing you in and holding you captive to her words with single-minded obsession; it’s as if nothing exists but the world she’s created. I’m in awe of Ms. Tucker’s story-telling skills and love that she continually writes fresh, captivating books that deliver more to her readers than just a simple story.

K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge.

She is the USA Today bestselling author of 17 books, including the Causal Enchantment, Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series, He Will Be My Ruin, Until It Fades, Keep Her Safe, and her upcoming contemporary fiction, The Simple Wild. Her books have been featured in national publications including USA Today, Globe & Mail, Suspense Magazine, and Publisher’s Weekly.

K.A. Tucker currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband and two beautiful girls.

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