I first heard of Wilder Girls on Goodreads before it was published or has a cover drop. Usually I only follow new books by the authors I like. For example, I know Chain of Iron is coming out March 2021 and so is Realm Breaker. Although I figured that because of all the hype this book was getting so early on I should think I’d like it too. I was really excited to see the cover when it finally dropped lol. After reading the synopsis in March, a little after the book was released (and a little after we were put in quarantine) I decided to buy the book instead of taking it out from the library since that would of taken so long with Covid closures and the theme of this novel was just perfectly fitting for the current situation!
Author: Rory Power
Title: Wilder Girls
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genres: Young Adult, Horror, Mystery, Fiction, LGBTQ, Dystopian
It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.
It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.
But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.
The main idea of this novel, being the Raxter girls in quarantine on a reclusive island was very in theme with my life when I read this book. I live in the spank middle of nowhere ans if I look out any window of my house I can’t see any neighbours. I spent pretty much all of my time inside during the month of March and it was kinda brutal. Not only that but when I finally had the chance to go out to town everything was so different than how I’d remembered it. This must be what the Raxter Girls feel but like 1000 times worse because they’re stuck on an island and they are all sick, a situation I would not wish upon anyone.
“Some days it’s fine. Others it nearly breaks me. The emptiness of the horizon, and the hunger in my body, and how will we ever survive this if we can’t survive each other? “We’re gonna make it. Tell me we’re gonna make it.”
I think the setting of this novel is really important to the plot. As on of this novel’s many readers, the severity of the Tox might have been dismissed as not that big of a deal should there not have been such vivid illustrations of the toll it had on the characters and the environnement. The dark gloomy Raxter forest is haunting and one could never imagine this island being the happy home to boarding school girls. The mystical and deformed animals are also a spooky effect that was a very interesting narrative to read. Of course, there is also the constant unease of the unknown while you read because where is Byatt? What is causing the Tox? I was so interested and invested in these characters and this story it was so hard to realize that not all of my questions flooding through my mind would get answered by the end of this brief novel.
“I think I’d been looking for it all my life
a storm in my body to match the one in my head.”
This bring me to one of my next points: I think the book should of been longer. From the looks of it and what research I’ve done Wilder Girls does not seem to be getting a sequel. I honestly think that if you had the right ideas you could make a trilogy or at least a duology to this book. The end of the book seemed way too rushed to me. And there was a boat?! This whole time there was a freaking boat with gas and all and Reese only thought about it as everything was coming to an end? Man I’d be out as soon as I’d see the weird ass deers in the woods. Those things sound TERRIBLE. But I mean honestly too bad so sad if I knew there was a boat somewhere I would of skidaddled a while ago. I mean creepy deer aside, there are some seriously SKETCHY vibes coming from the teachers and the scientists. Nah uh girl. This is not the kind of book I want to live in. So the end was kinda weird for me like the boat just showed up and they almost died 3 mins ago like just add another couple pages or leave a cliffhanger and write a sequel man. Reading this feels like trying to answer the three last math quiz questions in the extra five minutes the teacher gave you after everyone left. It’s third lap MarioKart type of writing. I don’t like third lap MarioKart writing. Too Fast!
Another thing I’d like to add on the more positive side was the uniqueness of each character’s reaction from the Tox. (Hetty lost an eye, Byatt has two spines, Reese has a scaly hand, some girl has two hearts, etc.) It’s easy to tell a lot of thought has been into this and I thought it was way more interesting than if all the girls had the same symptoms. Just a quick little thing that made the story much more interesting!
The Wrap Up
Rory Power’s Wilder Girls is for sure an awesome read on my account. My only hope would be that the ending weren’t so abrupt and would have the same amount of illustration and delineation as the rest of the novel. Why so quick?! That’s a question I’ll be asking myself for a while.
“We don’t get to choose what hurts us”
Buy Wilder Girls at Indigo Books & Music Canada here.
Add Wilder Girls to your Goodreads list here.