Wilder Girls

Wilder Girls

eBook - 2019
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Friends Hetty, Byatt, and Reece go to extremes trying to uncover the dark truth about the mysterious disease that has had them quarantined at their boarding school on a Maine island.
Publisher: New York : Delacorte Press, [2019]
ISBN: 9780525645603
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc - Distributor

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I am so, SO conflicted about this one. 3.5 stars I guess because I enjoyed it, but not to the level I wanted to; this was a classic case of unfulfilled expectations, and I'm kind of sad about it.

Raxter School houses girls from eleven up to graduating age, out on a tiny island off the coast of Maine. A strange Tox has ripped through the school, causing all kinds of mutations and, in the worst cases, death. In this eat-or-be-eaten environment, Hetty and Byatt have banded together; Byatt is the strong one, the firecracker, the one willing to do anything to survive, and Hetty loves her for it. Reese is the third in their unbalanced triad, but when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to get her back, including sacrificing herself to the forest full of strange and unnatural creatures that surrounds the school.

Cool premise, right? A weird disease that causes mutations like second spines forming, gills sprouting, second hearts beating. The grotesque elements were done really well I thought - I had to put the book down a few times because the descriptions of certain mutations, activities, or injuries were so visceral that I wanted to throw up.

The characters were where I felt this one fell a little flat. I liked them well enough - or, more accurately, I disliked them well enough, since I do feel that all of the three main characters are meant to be unsympathetic in their own ways. Hetty is a follower, Reese, a closed book, and Byatt, a mean girl thrown into a situation where she is forced to work with those around her but who does what she wants when she wants at the expense of everyone else. But for some reason, I just felt them all to be lukewarm. I didn't really care when Byatt went missing; I was way more interested in hearing from her than I was with Hetty, because I did want answers about the Tox and why it ravaged Raxter.

But then, the plot was also lacking for me. There's great, atmospheric world-building (I often felt like I could smell the air on the island as I was reading) with creepy creatures everywhere and a foreboding sense of danger that's ever-present, but the plot is very much just things *happening* to these girls. Everything is cool and normal until Hetty is promoted to boat shift. Then again, it's all chill until Byatt disappears. I suppose there's not much else for these girls to do when they're quarantined on an island, but I just felt like the plot was lacklustre and somewhat predictable.

This is basically like Annihilation-lite. Granted, I didn't read the book, only saw the movie, but this feels like its cousin, right down to the creepy, skeletal bear. I liked the world, liked the premise, but I found the execution somewhat disappointing.

p
Petruccellius_Rex
Apr 14, 2020

Very disappointing. The plot had so much potential but I never felt the horror of being infected with a new endemic virus that has no cure. I never felt the fear of being quarantined on a remote island away from home, with only fellow students and two remaining teachers, trying to survive day to day amid spontaneous viral attacks, deaths, and scant food and water. The island should have been its own eerie character since it's teeming with infected plants and animals, but it didn't really feel as threatening as it should have. The virus origin is revealed almost as an afterthought, and if social commentary was the aim it missed the mark. The main characters are real and 'normal' enough, but none are that interesting, especially the girl whose POV we spend the most time with. I didn't care about them or their relationships at all. Overall it's just flat and without colour for me. Dialogue was wooden, pace was uneven, the writing is blah, and the ending felt a bit rushed and anticlimactic. One part I DID like (without revealing too much) had a dream-like, semi-conscious stream of thought sort of prose... but that was it. Sad to say but the best thing about it really is the cover. Don't get caught up in its marketing hype and rave reviews.

LPL_KarenA Jan 10, 2020

Eerie, horrific, and gory. Wilder Girls will leave you with a sense of desolation and unrelenting bleakness. This one is perfect for teens interested in exploring the darker side of humanity.

n
navy_cat_976
Dec 30, 2019

Not awful? It did give me a creepy vibe. (I will admit, there was a moment where I actively shuddered and has to put the book down, but let’s keep that between us.)

Ending was very ambiguous- something I’m not a fan of.

k
KatG1983
Oct 25, 2019

I can't say that I was as impressed by this book as other reviewers. There is so much potential for a gritty, creepy horror story that could actually contain decent social commentary … but it falls quite short of that. There was so much opportunity that went unexplored. A solid foundation, that did not live up to its potential.

a
Arthur_of_Camelot
Oct 21, 2019

4.5 because I don't like ambiguous endings, but this was still a very good book. Definitely creepy and horror-filled, perfect for a Halloween read!

DCLteens Oct 11, 2019

A Must-Read YA staff pick. This fresh debut is a mind-bending novel unlike anything you've read before! A feminist "Lord of the Flies" about three best friends living in quarantine at their island boarding school, and the lengths they go to uncover the truth of their confinement when one disappears.

a
AliceInWonderbread
Sep 21, 2019

I've never read anything that can be classified as horror before- so this was new! But in saying that, I really did enjoy it.
There were a couple parts where I had to stop reading because the writing was very descriptive and gory and I simply needed a little bit of time to pause and then I would be able to continue.
I really liked the characters and I found the premise of the story to be really interesting! It's defiantly an unique read and one I would recommend if someone expressed that they enjoy reading the horror genre. The book defiantly ends with the idea that a sequel will be written and it has me super excited to read the next one and find out what happens to the characters!
All in all, I really enjoyed the book!

n
Needlz
Sep 09, 2019

Perfect. I loved it. It’s definitely not for everyone though.

c
cammysage
Aug 21, 2019

Love love love! This is the best book I've read in a long time. It's written so well and there are more plot twists than I can count. Read this book, you won't regret it!

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AliceInWonderbread
Sep 21, 2019

AliceInWonderbread thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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blue_dolphin_7378
Sep 15, 2019

blue_dolphin_7378 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

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cammysage
Aug 21, 2019

cammysage thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

OPL_KrisC Jul 23, 2019

OPL_KrisC thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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AliceInWonderbread
Sep 21, 2019

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Graphic scenes detailing character death, and self harm.

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AliceInWonderbread
Sep 21, 2019

“She’s never liked us much, not since she complained that there were no boys on the island, and Reese gave her the blankest look I’ve ever seen and said, “Plenty of girls, though.” ― Rory Power, Wilder Girls

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