Wow! Just wow! I could not put this down at all! Wranglestone has got to be one of my reads of the year so far and possibly my favourite Young Adult book ever! If you read one book this summer let it be this!
Thrilling zombie apocalypse meets a truly gorgeous gay love story; it’s perfect for fans of Walking Dead and Steven King’s The Stand. My heart pounded throughout, not only at the chilling zombie action but for Pete and Cooper’s genuinely tender romance and their overwhelming love for each other.
Winter was the only season every Lake-Lander feared…
In a post-apocalyptic America, people have fled the cities and set up communities in the mountains and national parks of Yosemite and Yellowstone. Lake Wranglestone is one such community; surrounded by water its inhabitants live on small islands, the water keeping the Dead or ‘Restless Ones’ at bay. But when winter comes and the lake freezes over, there’s nothing to stop them from dragging themselves across the ice searching for flesh.
Peter lives with his father, his mother a casualty of the Dead. He’s very much a homebody, darning socks, making quilts and keeping the tree house the two of them share neat and tidy. He’s a gentle trusting soul who always sees the good in people but one day, this is his undoing; he puts the camp in danger by naively allowing a stranger to come ashore with catastrophic consequences…
An emergency meeting is called on the Sky Deck of the lake’s Watchtower and the community of Wranglestone decide he must make up for his carelessness. He will act as bait, going into the forests and leading the Dead away from the lake.
Cooper, the boy he’s always admired from afar, is the polar opposite of Peter. Rugged, handy with an axe, machette, shotgun and accomplished on horseback, Cooper is no stranger to staring death in the face. He wrangles the Dead, herding them from their shores and out onto the plains before the lake freezes over. They say opposites attract and this couldn’t be truer; Cooper and Peter are made for each other and after a narrow escape from a frenzied attack of the Dead, Cooper confesses he’s also had feelings for Peter for some time. The pair share a the most beautiful night together in the boathouse – a safe haven between the lake and land – and from that moment, they belong to one another.
Every minute Pete is away from Cooper is agony and their love blossoms as Cooper takes Pete out riding across the plains. I was completely in love with them falling in love – Darren Charlton has written their story to perfection – and their story is for everyone. It’s for everyone that has loved another person so much that it hurts. But danger and the Dead are never far away and in a chain of events that will shock you to the core, their relationship faces truly devastating complications…
I’m bursting to say so much more but this is a book where there are so many special little moments (and utterly horrific and shocking ones!) that every reader deserves to discover for themselves. I wish I could read Wranglestone again for the very first time – there’s so many parts I keep going back to and re-reading that give me goosebumps and so many sections I assure you that you will read through your fingers or with your heart in your mouth.
A absolutely cannot wait to read the sequel Timberdark which publishes on 1st September.
Do not read the synopsis to this at all until you’ve read Wranglestone!!
About the author
Born by the sea in Hastings, I studied B.A (hons) English Literature and Theatre at De Montford University. I’ve always been creative, and found life a struggle whenever I wasn’t being, but it wasn’t until my thirties following a trip hiking and camping in the National Parks of America, that I landed upon writing. The landscapes and sky are so big out there, you can actually feel the planet. And it struck that me that other than being with loved-ones, exploring the world was the only thing that really mattered in life. This created a restlessness in me and this restlessness eventually took the form of writing and finally, these two books. I’m lucky I got a chance to exorcise my feelings by making them, but ultimately they’re for all LGBTQ+ young people looking not for another issue based coming-out drama, but the promise in life, of love and adventure.
Visit Darren’s website here to read more about his inspiration for Wranglestone and see photos of his amazing trips to America’s National Parks.