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Pura Vida (Don't Read in the Closet Events)

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  342 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
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 s
ebook, 92 pages
Published July 25th 2013 by M/M Romance Group @ goodreads
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(showing 1-30)
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Heather K (dentist in my spare 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
Christina Marie
Excuse me. Hellooooo.

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Can I have your attention please, for just a moment.

I loved this story.

This is the first thing I've read from this author. I think she has a beautiful style of writing. Pura Vida had this bittersweet undercurrent flowing throughout.

Simon goes to Costa Rica with his family for a few weeks of summer vacation. Annnnd I don't want to say too much because it was really nice watching the story unfold. Simon is adorable, and a little clueless. It was great learning about him a
Baba  ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter
2 stars. DNF @51 %.
Unfortunately this story didn't rock my world. The sex was awkward and unemotional and I didn't connect with the characters either.
Movin' on.
A Girl Has No Name
While on family holiday, Simon meets a young local – Juan – working for a Nature Conservatory. After an akward start due to language issues, they spend most of their nights at the beach in order to protect turtles and their eggs from poachers. I loved reading about the animals and the country. Both boys were still quite young and didn’t know how to behave around each other. Facing the fact, that Simon’s holiday will be over soon, they are trying to keep their feelings for each other hidden.

Jan 03, 2015 Nina rated it really liked it
This story is gorgeous.
And honestly, the reason why I'm not going to write a proper review for it is because it's so original, inspiring, enchanting and all-around wonderful that it needs to be discovered sentence by sentence, feeling by feeling and turtle by turtle.

Sara Alva is, apparently, really good at describing reality - fear, insensitivity, stereotypes, mistrust, infatuation, self-discovery, lust, poetry in feelings and places... I could go on - just the way it is, and an astonishing abil
Emma Sea
Apr 18, 2014 Emma Sea rated it liked it
Recommended to Emma Sea by: Giulio
Lovely writing, giving me a very strong sense of place. Great development of Simon: no insta-love, no simple shortcuts, and he grew as a person, even though he bordered on being an asshole in the beginning. (view spoiler)

I had to take a big breath halfway through, to make myself keep going, because I was very anxious about the whole sexual tourism thing. I was very happy with the
LiveYourLife BuyTheBook
Aug 09, 2013 LiveYourLife BuyTheBook rated it it was amazing
5 Stars - KAPOW
A "Live Your Life, Buy The Book" Review

Oh gosh, that was such a wonderful read. I just LOVED it!! Is there anything sweeter than a holiday romance? At any age it is fun, but when you are a teenager on holiday with your family it just seems even more exciting! More often than not it is between two holiday makers, but this story has one of the guys being local. That, of course, adds a whole different dimension - if both guys are on holiday it makes the final goodbye hard, but at lea
Jun 27, 2015 Meep rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: lovers of fluff
An adorable read that brings all the feels of a summer romance. There's no overwrought emotions or declarations and the ending is perfect; being a shamless sap I see them working out a HEA, but their young and the ending has the realism of HFN with openess to what the future might bring.

Simon the main character is sweet and a little naive, trying to act worldly yet revealing his core at every turn, it's a coming of age story for him.

Juan is nicely written. He's more of a realist and has a better
John The Cosmic Wanderer
May 15, 2014 John The Cosmic Wanderer rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, ya
Wonderful story of finding love in unexpected places. Sweet, romantic and there are baby turtles in this! Wished there was more to the epilogue. I would have loved to read more of Juan and Simon.
Nov 24, 2013 Bev rated it really liked it
Cute story from this year's LHNB event featuring turtles..Oh and 2 guys Simon and Juan.
Dec 02, 2015 B rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audibles
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I adored this narrator , this is a sweet mellow love story and the audible is
Just fenomenal , worth it for sure.
Joseph Northton is incredible , his voice is just amazing , this is his 2th audible that I heard by him.
The other one is Shattered Glass by Dani Alexander which is magnificent also. Highly recommend his work .
This book was yummy but a bit too short and I would love to know how they will make it work in the near future ... I hope there is a sequel.

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this book and also audible
is this
Pure beauty! Despite the fact that I read a lot of YA books I haven’t read that many YA M/M novels. This was such a sweet story about discovering what you really want in life and the fact that sometimes it requires a little bit of work.

Simon is on vacation with his family in Costa Rica. He is all set to enjoy a little summer ogling of the hot boys on the beach. Of course being told by his sort of boyfriend that they should take the summer to see other people makes it imperative that he hook up
Aug 05, 2016 Ana rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars

This lhnb history narrates the sweet summer romance between Simon, a high class young American guy that is in vacation in Costa Rica with his parents, and a local guy, Juan, who works in an ecological center taking care of turtle nests.

I enjoyed a lot this short YA history, both for literary reasons like personal ones (the biologist that lives in me). Im glad that Sara Alva gets so correctly a glimpse of the reality and gives a message of actual facts, even if it is tangentially in a r
Nov 18, 2014 Amy rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Amy by: Pamela Su
Shelves: favorites
Perfection! I don't know how else to describe it. That was quite possibly my favorite short story. Ever. I love a summer romance. I love baby sea turtles. And I love a happy ending.
Very lovely romance story about an American boy who to his own surprise finds love and inspiration in Costa Rica with a local. Free story from the M/M Romance group.
Trisha Harrington
Jun 02, 2014 Trisha Harrington rated it really liked it
Recommended to Trisha by: Alice
Thanks for the rec, Alice!
Cole Riann
Review posted at The Armchair Reader.

I'm really happy that Sara Alva asked me to specifically review this short story of hers. Many of you will have read it, I know, because it's a free short from the m/m Goodreads Romance Group's LHNB event. I usually keep up a little better with the stories than I have this year and I also try to do a couple mass reviews of some of my favorites. But, I've really missed most of them, just because there have been too many new releases this summer! And way too ma
Jan 03, 2015 Marcie rated it really liked it
Shelves: latino-mc, shorts
Sweet and enjoyable YA book. Pura Vida is a story about finding feelings at unexpected times and places.

Simon is spending a 3 week vacation with his family in Costa Rica. And currently finds himself in a open realtionship for the summer at the suggestion of his "boyfriend". Not only was Simon disappointed at the suggestion, but had no intentions of sowing his wild oats. Well, that is till he runs into a local by the name of Juan, who is a vendor by day and works at a Sea Turtle Conservation by n
Dani Alexander
I can't rate it, because I beta'd it. I love it. I love her writing. That's pretty much gonna cover everything (except No Strings--which I'm not reading because I love her, but not that much =P).

I'm biased, is basically what this review states =P

Edit: Just to be clear: I hate YA (normally), I really dislike short stories. I just always want more of both the older version of characters and their story. So I have not read even the blurb for No Strings because I know it's both and I'm just going to

Offered for FREE from the M/M Romance Group's Love Has No Boundaries Anthology: Volume 1. Thank you too all the amazing authors who participated!

Amaaaazing photo!

Sep 17, 2015 Pjm12 rated it really liked it
Totes loved this. Can't remember the characters' names (6 short stories ago now), but the US boy who falls in love with Juan is single-minded and clearly focussed, & even though he avoids defining the relationship to everyone, including himself, he follows his heart and acts instinctively to both protect and bare open his feelings..

(ridiculously long and badly worded sentence).

Great involving story with an added turtle-love side plot.

Aug 02, 2013 Justin rated it it was amazing
I'm going to show my age here but the first thing that comes to mind is AWESOME!!!!
The blurb gives a great description of the story so I'll just say this is a very sweet, enjoyable romance with a HFN ending.

Thank you Sara Alva for participating in the LHNB event.
Aug 08, 2013 Mercedes rated it really liked it
Shelves: mm-romance
OMG! That was very good. Really enjoyable
Sep 12, 2013 Fangtasia rated it really liked it
Beautifully written young, summer love. Who hasn't had one? Ah, the memories...

From the opening scene, the author does an excellent job of showing the reader what each character's mindset and purpose is, during the vacation which provides the setting for the story, and within the family. Even Mom and Dad, who hardly participate in the story itself, have a solid, realistic background. For example, (view spoiler)
Pamela Su
Aug 08, 2013 Pamela Su rated it it was amazing
Pura Vida is a beautiful, touching story about a holiday romance and growing up.

The romance between Simon and Juan unfolded so naturally. The tension and uncertainties that accompanies a relationship formed on so brief a time span is wonderfully woven with a bittersweet tone.

The environmental concerns surrounding turtles and turtle egg poaching is felt throughout the story. It adds richness to the story while sending out a message to the readers without being too forceful.

I very much enjoyed thi
Sep 02, 2013 Heather rated it liked it
Shelves: m-m, lhnb
Awe. Cute little story. Easy to read.

The only problem I had was their lack of communication. But, it is a YA. So it's kind of expected right??

I personally liked the conservation of the sea turtles, it rounded out the awkwardness of these two. Because. Lets face it it was awkward. Even the epilogue they were still awkward and reserved with one another.
Cute story, but I had higher expectations. That's why I don’t like to read reviews before reading a book. :/
Nov 24, 2014 Alona rated it liked it
Shelves: m-m, short
2.5 stars
T. Smith
Oct 09, 2015 T. Smith rated it really liked it
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. Transl
Joyfully Jay
Nov 13, 2015 Joyfully Jay rated it really liked it
Shelves: michelle
A Joyfully Jay review.

3.75 stars

Pure Vida gave me almost exactly what I was expecting. It’s not a full length novel and so I was anticipating somewhat limited character development and because Simon is only nineteen, I was also only expecting a certain amount of emotional engagement based on his age.

Alva sets a vivid scene and atmosphere with the backdrop of Costa Rica and the sand, water, and surroundings are fully on display. The story is told solely from Simon’s point of view and he is expos
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Sara Alva is a former small-town girl currently living in big-city LA with a husband, two cats, and an avocado tree. She recently discovered— after a year in her house— that she also has a fig tree in her backyard, which might mean she needs to get out more. But sometimes the stories waiting to be told demand more attention, and when she puts fingers to keyboard, it’s usually to write about ...more
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