When one girls journey to find out who she truly is collides with that of a boy trying to escape who he believes he has become we are immersed in an unforgettable journey through rainforest, cities, and the hearts of all of those involved.
Maya, a city girl finds herself in the middle of nowhere when her dad goes missing on a trip the two of them are on, running away from people who seem keen to get her out of the picture. She has absolutely no clue where she is or where she is running too, only that she feels as though she is in danger. When hiding amongst the peruvian jungle Maya gets injured and whilst being looked after by local young man Mathias she is introduced to Raul.
Raul has returned to the jungles of peru that he was born in and grew up surrounded by after being summoned there by Mathias, his childhood friend who stayed behind when everyone else moved into the city after their way of living is compromised, telling Raul that he would regret not travelling there. Raul has very personal reasons for being reluctant returning but his loyalty to his friend supersedes that when it means he can help Mathias.
So when Maya and Raul realise they may well work better together trying to achieve sepeate goals but with a mutual overall outcome the story really takes off and the reader is privileged to an incredible journey alongside these strong and determined characters. Maya is looking to find out who she really is and where she comes from and Raul is looking to own a past that is weighing him down and together they realise their true potential and the incredible weightlessness that comes from believing in themselves.
This is such an amazing adventure story, and definitely one I would recommend for fans of Jess Butterworth and Katherine Rundell as there are definite vibes of their books, and being quite niche to have a jungle based location and both boy and girl main characters means this is another welcome title for fans of those specifics in a story, and a great piece of fiction for rainforest topic boxes too..
I particularly loved that the chapters were separate entries from Maya and Raul consecutively and written from their perspectives in relation to their aspects of the adventure. The story does draw attention and shine a light on illegal logging, and Chloe Daykin has done a fantastic job of including the important topic within the story but in a way that leaves you feeling informed and aware, not preached to. I truly admire that additional meaning within the story, and certainly felt as though I was more aware afterwards of something that I previously knew little of.
The huge attention to detail of the locations and scenes is evident throughout the whole story and gives that incredible depth and more valuable experience to the reader, and makes this an unforgettable story, especially with the mention of the peruvian jungle wildlife, and combined with that element of magic that comes from Maya as she comes into herself this book has a winning combination that will engross readers and leave them hooked, and wanting more beyond.
Fire Girl, Forest Boy is published by Faber & Faber and retails at £6.99