According to the Goodreads page for this book, this is the second book in a series, but the good news is that as far as this reader is concerned, there is nothing ‘missing’ or nothing to suggest that one really needs to read another book prior to reading this.
The author, Fiona Wood, is Australian. This is important only because it explains why the reader might come across a passage in which the characters notice a wallaby nearby.
This is a YA book – teens against the world with the world here represented by wilderness. The students are at an outdoor school or a camp, but the lessons they learn are not so much about the wilderness, but about themselves and how they currently do and must learn to fit into the world. And the world, a teen discovers, is not as simple as the world of a child. Friendships, betrayals, first love, and first sex. These are the experiences of these young adults in Wildlife.
One of the things that sets this apart from so many YA books is how real the characters appear to be drawn. In many books aimed at this target demographic, the characters represent a raw emotion, but not necessarily a real person. These people are very real. I felt as though I could walk through the halls of my nearby high school and pick these people out.
And part of what has made them real is their dialog that rings true, and their reactions to situations. I was especially caught up with the young lady losing her virginity and the way the whole thing is handled:
Deciding to do it is less momentous and certainly less rational than it should be; I can’t even say it is a decision; it’s more like a switch has flicked.
Followed shortly thereafter by:
Did we really just do that? I want to hide my face. I want to look into a mirror in private, to check if I’m still me.
And the really observant:
I walk into the house an unvirgin, and no one notices.
This struggle to understand herself as a sexual being, and the relationship with the boy, combined with reactions from friends, is so much a part of many teens’ lives. And the best part is … it is not a commentary or a persuasion for or against teen sex. It addresses it in such an honest way.
But the book is about more than just teen sex. It is all the aspects of moving from child to adult and all of it is addressed equally honestly (and not always with answers, as life typically is). And if that isn’t enough to make you want to read this book, perhaps Fiona Wood’s way with words will help. When you read a book and come across descriptions like this
I need to pack the swoon back into the wrong end of the telescope before I drown in the distraction of him.
how can you not be impressed?
Looking for a good book? Wildlife, by Fiona Wood, is a beautiful, honest book of Young Adult struggles.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Fiona Wood
series: Six Impossible Things/Wildlife #2
hardcover, 400 pages