Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Sci-fi, 353 pages, published in 2019

Synopsis: After the girls of Raxter Island were infected with the Tox, they were put under quarantine. It has been 18 months since they have been surviving, not breaking the quarantine, and waiting for a cure. This story follows three friends – Hetty, Reese, and Byatt as things intensify on the island.

Spoiler Free Review:

I do not normally read any sort of horror/suspense/thriller books because I scare easily, but this was the Barnes & Noble YA Book Club pick for August, so I wanted to read it for that reason. The author does have some content warnings on her website, so I was semi-prepared for what was in this book.

I thought most of the gore in this book was fine, though there were a few specific things that really got to me. All of the girls get mutated after the Tox, so I don’t think this book would have been the same without these grim, gory descriptions.

I actually flew through this book! Despite quite a few plot holes and other things I wanted more of, it was intense and definitely pulled me in. I definitely think it could have been longer, so more of the lose ends could have been explored and explained.

My favorite thing about this book was the creepy forest imagery. In a way, it kind of reminded me of Uprooted by Naomi Novik because that book features a similar forest, though it is more magical than the one in Wilder Girls. I could picture this looming, dark forest the entire time I was reading the book and the animals in it were equally as dark and creepy as the forest itself.

I was a little confused by the dynamics between Reese, Hetty, and Byatt. In order to not give away spoilers, I’ll say that I just didn’t think the romantic relationship that formed made a whole lot of sense. There were mixed signals all around, so I was just thrown when it actually was revealed. I didn’t particularly love or relate to any of the girls, but they were still interesting to read about and different from each other.

My biggest hangup was just all the plot holes and openness at the end. There were a lot of things that didn’t make too much sense in the story that either needed and exploitation and didn’t get one, or needed to be done in a different way entirely. The ending was also not what I wanted or what I think the story needed to be fulfilling. I’m left wanting more, but in an unsatisfied way.

Overall, I think this is a fun, fast-paced book, but not one I’m jumping to ever reread. I was glad I pushed myself to read outside of my normal genres and was able to participate in the B&N Book Club again! Once again, I was the only person there besides the woman running it!

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