cover image Beautiful Wild

Beautiful Wild

Anna Godbersen. HarperTeen, $18.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-267985-7

Godbersen’s (When We Caught Fire) latest seems set on chronicling an engagingly frothy shipboard romance until an abrupt plot twist forces a change of course to something far more thought-provoking. Anxious to flee an impending society scandal generated by their daughter’s flirtations, the parents of headstrong San Francisco socialite Vidalia Marin Hazzard, 17, hastily book passage to Hawaii for themselves and their daughter on a grand new ocean liner, the Princess of the Pacific, said to be unsinkable. Vida’s plan—and her parents’ intention—is that she will secure a marriage proposal from Fitzhugh Farrar, dashing explorer and scion of the family that owns the Princess. When a collision at sea sinks the ship, Vida ends up on a remote island with Fitz, his servant Sal, and a small group of other passengers. As she learns to survive in this new environment, Vida begins to shed society’s expectations and discover new capabilities and modes of living. While her romance with Fitz seems to flourish, Vida also finds herself drawn to the enigmatic Sal, whom she initially scorns as a “nobody.” Lush language manages to convey the mores of a Titanic-tinged world while moving the story at a brisk pace that will keep contemporary readers engaged. Ages 14–up[em]. (Nov.) [/em]