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REVIEW: “Pura Vida” by Sara Alva


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. 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.

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’s “Love Has No Boundaries” event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.


Don’t pay attention to my rating if you’re a fervent YA reader. I’m not, and while I liked it just fine, I didn’t reach the ‘love’ level simply because I didn’t invest myself in the romance that I found half bland, half soothing. However, I’m pretty sure that it’s a winner for readers who enjoy gentle, sensible, somewhat poetic teen love stories.

Sure it lacked excitement for me, but I enjoyed the earthy quality of Sara Alva’s writing, and the flavour she gives to her story.  “Pura Vida” is sandy like the cover, bright and warm like a sunny day on the beach, colourful like Costa Rican wildlife, and it tastes like summer love, salty and bittersweet like impending separation. It talks of youth, of growing up, of dangers and beauties waiting for you outside the nest, of taking a chance at life and happiness.

I recommend it strongly to YA readers. Other readers might take a chance at it and keep it in store for when they’ve been bruised by their last read, or simply for when they’re in the mood for a pretty, relaxing story with a solid writing.



Title:  Pura Vida
Author:  Sara Alva
Publisher: M/M Romance Group @ goodreads
Pages: 92 pages
Release Date: July 25th 2013
Links:  M/M GR Group 

4 comments on “REVIEW: “Pura Vida” by Sara Alva

  1. Carolyn
    July 3, 2014

    I absolutely agree with you on the quality of Sara Alva’s writing. Not only does she have a wonderful style, but her characters and storylines always impress me.

    As for Pura Vida, I actually reread it this past week and loved it all over again. She manages to pack in so many wonderful moments in a fairly short read, from man relating to himself, to a person from a different culture, to a lover, and even to the environment, but it all melds so wonderfully together. The reason for my reread this time? I ordered this free read in paperback because I just had to have it on my shelves (she’s offered it through Amazon and createspace), that’s how much I adored it.


  2. ilhem3606
    July 3, 2014

    I get why you adore this story. It is short but still accomplished in every way.


    • Carolyn
      July 3, 2014

      That’s a lovely way to state it. I thought your original thoughts were well-stated, too, and I could really appreciate the rest of the review after your preface of not being a YA reader. I just wanted to hop on and offer a slightly different viewpoint. As a free read especially, I don’t think someone could go wrong picking it up. Thanks for the reply!


      • ilhem3606
        July 4, 2014

        Thanks for adding your viewpoint! It is always interesting and fun to discuss books and have different perspectives.


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This entry was posted on July 2, 2014 by in Contemporary, Reviewer: Ilhem and tagged , , .

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