Simon has found himself in an open relationship for the summer - though not by choice. Instead of wallowing, he's decided to make the most of a family vacation to Costa Rica by hooking up with the first hot guy available. The trouble is, he has no clue how to go about doing that.
Luckily, he runs into someone with a little more experience. But when the moments of lust turn into something more, Simon isn't so sure he'll be able to return to his old relationship. And there's no way to hold onto this new one, either, as thousands of miles will separate them in only a few short weeks. Either way, he'll have to learn to let go.
©2013 Sara Alva (P)2015 Sara Alva
Avid reader, reviewer, blogger and budding author.
The voices that Northton gave the characters.
The characters and the story line.
I haven't read it so I don't know.
It's perfect already.
Pura Vida has a simple English translation but a far more profound meaning to the people of Costa Rica and anyone spending any amount of time in this majestic country. Pura Vida. Pronounced POO-rah VEE-dah, in English means, "Pure Life".
Vacation is supposed to be a happy, relaxed time where you can forget your troubles and just enjoy the peace. But for Simon this vacation is racked with stress, worry and a nosey sister. He and his long term boyfriend are taking a “break” for summer break. Translation: boyfriend wants to be able to screw anything in a pair of pants and not feel guilty about it. Simon sits on the beach soaking up the sun and drinking margaritas while mentally lining up all the possibilities that surround him. The one that catches his attention turns out to be a local with a lot of character.
Juan sells bags, sunglasses and hats around town and down the beach by day. But at night he camps out at a local reserve for turtles. He watches the sea turtles; helps protect them and their eggs from poachers and find their way back to the sea. Simon is intrigued with what it is Juan does with the turtles, even more intrigued with Juan. The two decide to “pass the time” together, both fully aware it is nothing more than that, until feelings grow and hearts get involved.
I really loved the message behind this story, Pura Vida. And I enjoyed the way the romance wove its way around the scenery of Costa Rica, helping to shape and mold both young men, especially Simon. The sea turtles were an odd secondary character, but it worked so well in the storyline. Those turtles are what brought these two unlikely lovers together. There was a little bit of danger added to the mix, giving the story just a little bit of suspense. But overall it is a story about figuring out who you are and who you want to be, then making it happen.
Narrated by Joseph Northton who really brought Simon and Juan to life. Simon was sort of wistful and unsure and that really conveyed will the way he was voiced. Northton did a great job of bringing Juan to life with an authentic accent, especially the way he pronounced Simon’s name. It was a fast, fun read that kept me entertained and engaged from start to finish. My first from this author and this narrator, but I’ll be looking for more from both.
Simon left school knowing his boyfriend was going to be exploring other relationships, despite his preference for monogamy. So he decides to “explore” a little himself.
He meets Juan on a moonlit walk on a beach. Juan is a local boy who saves baby turtles from poachers. In a moment of braveness they embrace and realize the other is gay. But their relationship can’t work, can it? Juan lives in Costa Rica and Simon has to go back to school in a week…
In the end we get a very nice HFN and we learn a lot about turtle conservation!
So, this book fit into the niche of NA – but read more like a YA with a little bit of sex thrown in. Nothing wrong with it, but I think it would have done better to commit to either making it a bit more sensual or leaving the sex as fade to black.
While I loved the imagery and descriptions of Costa Rica, it at times felt a bit like a travel-log and a bit preachy in regards to the turtles.
I didn’t buy the “long-term” of their relationship and though I was happy for them at the end, I didn’t have a lot of faith that it would really work out. Maybe if the epilogue had been a bit longer with them later in life, I would have bought into it more…
The narrator totally made this story for me. His accent was amazing and he really did well with the emotions and the tone of the story. Listening is the best way to experience this story.
For the book and the audiobook I give it 3.5 of 5 stars.
Love listening to great stories matched well to the right narrators.
YES!! This is my cup of tea, loved it, adored it, perfection , I love Joseph Northton work and this book is just light and sweet eanought to hold my attention . Great story amazing narration is a WINNER!!! For me .
Juan and Simon very like able characters.
Juan I love his accent
Juan and Simon
THis is my dream came through!!
Perfect narrator and great writing . Just perfection!!
A bit too short of a story and I would love to know how they make it work.
I want more please.
Eclectic reader, from YA to adult. Favorites include romance & mystery, but I'll give anything with interesting words a try. Love diversity.
(Just a note: The first three paragraphs are from my review of the story alone before I listened to the audiobook and still reflect my thoughts on the story after listening. I'll add narration below as a fourth paragraph.) In lesser hands, this could just be a sweet story about two guys who meet during a vacation trip, one local and one from America, who hook up but find more than they'd imagined. Like I said, sweet, but not complicated. Instead, Sara Alva gives true depth to both her characters and her story.
Simon is feeling down about his newly single status, and tries to enjoy the view he has of the guys on the beach while on vacation with his family. A chance meeting on that beach at night where he might have done more harm than good for the turtles who make the beach their nesting grounds has him fascinated by both the guy he meets and his mission. Juan is a local who's dedicated to helping turtles through a conservancy program, and he's hooked up with enough guys on vacation to know the score. Things get turned on their head as the two men get to know each other while Simon drops his preconceived notions and privileged ways and Juan learns that someone can value more of him than just his body.
Sara Alva has such a deft hand when it comes to layering elements. Interwoven with the beautifully written romance and interesting plot elements are thoughts on cultural differences, stereotypes, environmentalism, class privilege, and family dynamics that never feel heavy but add heft to this story. This is a fairly short YA/NA story, but if you think that doesn't make it worth your time, you'll be missing out on something truly wonderful.
As for narration, this is my first experience with Joseph Northton, and he did a spectacular job. He had distinct voices (which is my own preference in audiobooks as opposed to just a good storytelling voice), and he brought out the emotion and characteristics of each person really well. Accents are important to me because I've actually stopped listening to stories with inauthentic ones performed, and while I'm certainly no expert on what Costa Ricans sound like, I didn't feel like this was just some lazy attempt to sound Spanish. Juan's voice sounded like it was Juan's voice, and Simon's Simon. There were inconsequential niggles that would drop his performance for me from a completely perfect rating, but overall superb, and I would definitely look forward to hearing his narration again.
Pura Vida is the story of a boy around college age who goes on vacation with his family. His family is fairly well off. He has a decent life. But something is missing. He doesn't have a satisfied accomplished feeling about himself or the direction his life is moving. While on vacation, he meets a local guy that changes his outlook, which makes a big impact on his future.
This is a wonderful short read. I believe most of us can identify with parts of the storyline. It left me with a good feeling.
Goodreads reviewer and blogger... also dentist and wife/mom when I get the time!
A sweet story with a decent narration, this was a pleasant read.
Simon is vacationing in Costa Rica with his family when he meets local guy, Juan. They bond over a mutual love of sea turtles (awwww!) and sandy sex, and they have a nice little summer romance that plays out well on page.
Though I liked these two guys together, I kept feeling a little awkward about a few things. For one, I felt like Juan was sort of resigned to the fact that he would always be a sexual toy to some rich tourist for the summer, and I felt a strange disparity between him and Simon. I wanted MORE for smart, sensitive Juan, and because we never get his POV, I always had this nagging feeling that he was being taken advantage of. Also, though I liked Simon's evolution throughout the story, I still wasn't sure he was treating Juan like his equal until most of the way through.
In addition, I thought that the lack of communication was awkward at times, but the sweetness between the MCs made up for it.
In terms of the narration, I have sort of mixed feelings. I enjoyed the sound of the narrator, Joseph Northton, but there was something lacking in the emotion department with his reading. Also, the sound quality was spotty, with really evident choppiness between edits and takes. I would have liked more professional consistency, but I was willing to overlook a lot of things because I found him pleasant to listen to, overall.
If you like college-aged boys having mostly off page sex surrounded by marine life and wrapped up in sweetness, you should try this easy listening book.
**Copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review**
"Cute Costa Rican Love Story"
This is a short but perfectly formed little love story in the traditional sort of Mills and Boon way with a gay sex twist!
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