Page Count 368
Publication date 2019/ Publisher Macmillan
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.
I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so on-the-fence about a book. Wilder Girls had been sitting on my wishlist for months before I suddenly got approved for a Netgalley ARC- 6 months after publication?
Needless to say I was thrilled and began reading immediately. It’s taken me one afternoon to finish it, so clearly the book did grip me no matter my overall opinion.
Positives? Rory Power can write some damn good body horror! There are some truly repulsive scenes in Wilder Girls, they gave the story an edge it definitely needed.
The atmosphere is beautifully done, I adored the bleak setting and the writing style during Byatt’s manic moments whilst unconventional was really effective.
I loved the premise but the book was a little slow moving to start. There isn’t an explanation of the origin of the Tox; there are plenty of half assed ideas but to be honest I’d rather there were none if Power never intended on a reveal.
I can’t explain without spoilers but I found several gaping plot holes in this book, in the manner of problems/conflicts that could be easily solved with common sense. Including a massive flaw in the ending of the book that rendered the whole story pretty pointless.
However, I enjoyed the survivalist theme, the feral behaviour of the girls in such hopeless circumstances and the relationships built between the three main characters.
So as you see. Solidly on the fence.
Have to say though, very pleased to find another LGBTQ YA horror novel. If you read and enjoyed this may I highly recommend The Girl In Red by Christina Henry next?