STARRED REVIEW
May 28, 2019

Into the Jungle

By Katherine Rundell, illustrated by Kristjana S. Williams
Delve into the heart of the Amazon in Erica Ferencik’s second action-packed thriller, Into the Jungle.
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Delve into the heart of the Amazon in Erica Ferencik’s second action-packed thriller, Into the Jungle.

In 2010, while living in a hostel in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Lily Bushwold, a Boston native, meets Omar, an Amazon hunter turned motorcycle mechanic. Two scrappy yet tender kindred spirits, they quickly fall in love. When Omar is summoned back to his jungle village, Ayachero, to avenge his mourning family, Lily accompanies him. Little does she know it’s not just Omar she follows, but a mystical calling to discover her ca’ah, her life’s purpose, intrinsically bound up with the fragile jungle ecosystem.

A mosh pit of unexpected experiences, the jungle is not unlike Lily’s turbulent childhood, which she spent bouncing from foster home to foster home. Her character develops in the steamy cocoon of jungle extremes. On one hand, in the 10 months Lily spends in the jungle, she’s rained down upon by tarantulas, infected by sand flies, made to gut freshly hunted game (she’s a vegetarian) and squeezed by a python. On the other hand, she is befriended by a pig, macaws and an orphan boy, Tuti. She learns to harvest the poison of tree frogs. The pages of Into the Jungle teem with fascinating flora and fauna.

Densely packed, sensational scenes are offset by thoughtful engagement. Lily and Omar give each other “assignments” as a way to get to know one another. She communicates with the controversial shaman, Beya, in a way no one else can. Lily and For God’s Sake, the able river navigator, discuss ca’ah and the fate of the jungle. The village suspects Lily of being on the side of poachers and loggers threatening the jungle, and she must find cunning ways to distinguish herself from these greedy messengers of civilization and prove herself capable of the villagers’ respect.

A chilling journey into jungle life, Into the Jungle is also a deep probe into environmental ethics and love.

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Into the Jungle

Into the Jungle

By Katherine Rundell, illustrated by Kristjana S. Williams
Walker
ISBN 9781536205275

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