REVIEW: Wilder Girls, Rory Powers

Friday, 10 January 2020

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put in quarantine. The Tox turned the students strange and savage, the teachers died off one by one. Cut off from the mainland, the girls don’t dare wander past the school’s fence where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure as the Tox takes; their bodies becoming sick and foreign, things bursting out of them, bits missing. But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her best friend, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie in the wilderness past the fence. As she digs deeper, she learns disturbing truths about her school and what else is living on Raxter Island. And that the cure might not be a cure at all . . .

Honestly, I had high hopes for Wilder Girls. But, with the way that 2020 is already going, I should have known better. That is because, whilst the premise of Wilder Girls is probably one of the best of white!YA of 2019, its execution left me with an entire stack of questions. Its dialogue was implausible, its relationships even more so. People screamed "SAPPHIC" from the rooftops and all I saw was the one of the most awkward, weirdly navigated kisses, I have ever experienced in literature. It was weird, flat, empty. And, probably most importantly, its characterisation was nonexistent; more dancing with cardboard-cutouts than any real attempt at crafting human beings.
It has been consistently showing up on the Best-Books-of-the-Year lists of the constantly-smiling teen booktubers and, even though evidence normally points otherwise, they have not always steered me wrong. A lot of the time, yes, but not all of it. But, within pages, those futile hopes came crashing to the ground and, not even a supposed-connection (in reality, admittedly rather tenuous) to Lord of the Flies, could keep them up.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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