Review: Love Always, Wild by A.M. Johnson
Note: An advanced reader copy (ARC) was provided by the author.
"You deserve to be loved out loud, in the open, in front of the world. Let me give that to you."
There's a reason why A.M. Johnson is one of my favorite go-to authors, making the wait between each release of hers so darn worthwhile, and that's saying something considering I'm not particularly known for my patience. Her latest novel, Love Always, Wild, is a standalone--although it has the potential to inspire a spin-off or two (fingers and toes crossed, but more on that later in this review!)--and it happens to be a second-chance M/M romance. If you've never read anything by Johnson before, do yourselves a favor and discover just how gifted of an author she is. And yes, you can start with LAW.
Wilder Welles crushed on Jaxon Stettler in their freshman year in college. They grew closer when Wild tutored Jax in chemistry during their sophomore year. The two were madly but secretly in love by their junior year, but Wild found himself alone by their senior year, with Jax heading to his hometown of Bell River, Florida, never to return and ghosting the boy he loved but could not allow himself to have. Nine years later, Wild pens a bestselling book about two boys who fell in love--one was out and proud, the other very much in the closet. They got their happy ending. When Jax comes across Love Always, Wild, he wonders if he's finally brave enough to give himself and Wild their own happily-ever-after. But to have that, Wild will need to forgive him and Jax will have to come out.
I love angst, and in every single one of A.M. Johnson's books--well, at least the ones that I've read since I've yet to read her pre-Sacred Hart releases--the angst addict in me does a happy little dance. Ironic, I know. She does angst, and gosh, darn it, she does it freakishly well. However, Love Always, Wild doesn't have the same level of angst as I've come to expect from her, and I was surprised, and pleasantly so (which may seem like a surprise, but I love it when an author give me the unexpected). Johnson still gave me all the feels, and did so with her usual beautiful prose, but this time around with a bit more of a lighthearted touch to it. Oh, and did I mention that this had some delicious heat to it, too?
Prepare to become emotionally invested because Wild and Jax and their story demand and deserve it. I already knew I was going to get a wonderfully written romance because I'm familiar with this author's awe-inspiring writing. Yet she still managed to take me by surprise in the best ways possible. Wild and Jax's story is a reminder that love and acceptance need to begin with oneself and that true faith isn't limited to religious beliefs but to belief in the person that you are and the love that you share. Backed by an unforgettable cast of supporting characters--two of whom I hope will be able to have their respective stories shared in the future--and a story that touched my heart and gave me things to ponder and reflect on, Love Always, Wild is further proof that the faith I put in A.M. Johnson's writing and the love I have for her stories is well placed. Five-plus stars.
Release Date: 08 October 2020
Date Read: 18 September 2020
Learn more about A.M. Johnson.
Purchase Love Always, Wild on Amazon.