Is it read-worth? Yes and no. Don’t get me wrong, Wilder Girls is a very strong piece of writing. The world building is interesting, the storyline is engaging, and the characters are relatively well developed. You always want to learn more about everyone and everything. I really enjoyed reading it. However, the author stated that she intended this to be a stand alone piece and it just doesn’t make a lot of sense as one. While I love books that leave me with questions, I prefer them to be questions about myself and my society. This book left me with too many questions about the book itself. I had high hopes for it, but was left with an anticlimactic ending and too many unanswered questions to really say it was worth the read.
Back of the Book Summary
From the author of Burn Our Bodies Down, 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. This fresh debut is a mind-bending novel unlike anything you’ve read before.
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.
My Take On It: Somewhat Spoilery
I’m going to be honest: I read this book a few weeks ago. And I felt like I had a lot to say during reading it, but now that I’ve finished it: I don’t really have a lot to say about it. It felt like it was going to have a lasting impact, but it didn’t.
In the end, it just feels like a let down.
I like powerful, resounding pieces of writing. The beginning of this book made me feel like I had gotten just that: a newborn classic. I thought it was a sister to Lord of the Flies, a reflection of how girls will act when faced with a somewhat similar scenario. They set high standards by directly compare the two. I thought it would change me as a person. I thought it would open my eyes to environmental issues. I thought it would do something important.
And, at first, it really seemed like it was going to. The writing was almost poetic in nature. It was gorgeous and yet also absolutely disgusting. I loved it. Pure and simple. I also loved the girls at the core of the story. Byatt especially caught my interest. I found myself wondering how I would live in their shoes, so cut off from the rest of the world. It seemed so beautiful and so deadly at the same time.
But when it devolved into a government cover-up story, it lost me completely. It’s another one of those novels where it just didn’t need the infusion of rebellion and corruption. It was powerful on its own. Any inclusion of that was only to its detriment. Plus, the book left behind the aspects I rather enjoyed: the realism of the choices its characters make, the grisly descriptions of the changes the girls encountered, and the actual girls themselves. It was amazing just focusing on the girls and their somewhat obscure condition. I didn’t need the author to over-complicate the story. The whole conspiracy aspect was unwanted on my end of things.
Would I recommend it? I still don’t know. I wish I did.