On an island in the North Atlantic sits a private girl’s school. As Rory Power’s book Wilder Girls opens, a plague has already spread across the island (and more?) and the surviving girls and instructors have found their own way to move on with their new lives. Their independence is frail, however, as they cannot go into the woods surrounding their school because the plague, referred to as ‘Tox,’ is thick, making the wilderness around their school truly wild.
Three girls, Hetty, Byatt, and Reese, have become quite close friends through the shared ordeal. One day Byatt is suddenly missing and despite a strict, warden-like adult trying to care for the girls, Hetty goes in search for her friend only to make some horrific discoveries.
The book is told through two alternating viewpoints – Hetty’s and Byatt’s. Given that there are three friends, it makes for a highly interesting writing device making Reese’s involvement more interesting.
Rory Power understands that ‘less is more’ and that often what we are not told is more interesting than what is directing in front of us. Here, sometimes, what we are not told over-powers the story. The biggest of these is the Tox itself. It’s a dystopian novel and the story is about the girls and their survival, but knowing anything about how this all came to be makes it the intriguing story that we never get.
That the Tox plays a major role in the plot, yet we know nothing about it, makes it the frustrating story we never get.
I definitely fell into the hype surrounding this book (there’s been a real marketing push for this) and I was most certainly drawn to the incredible cover, which promised a strange, dark story (which is provided).
I think that there is a strong YA readership that will devour this book. As a YA book this follows all the plot requirements (a youth, typically a girl, on her own, not understood by the adults in her life, facing odds that are depressing) but with some twists that make it stand out among other books. But for me, the lack of information made it more frustrating than appealing.
Looking for a good book? Wilder Girls by Rory Power is a dystopian YA book with plenty of intrigue but leaves many holes in the story.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Rory Power
publisher: Delacorte Press
hardcover, 368 pages