Title: Wilder Girls
Author: Rory Power
Genre: YA, Horror
Edition/Pages: E-book, 368 pages
I received an arc of this from Delacorte Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Over a year ago, a disease they call Tox took over the island – affecting both the Raxter Girls and the island itself. Now the animals, plants, and girls have morphed into something more vicious. The girls that are still left are different – they have abnormalities: second hearts, spines, scales, etc.
Quarantined to the island, they rely on each other and measly rations from the nearby Navy base. Who has promised to find a cure – as long as no breaks quarantine.
This is written in dual POV’s. Mostly from Hetty’s point of view with a few chapters from Byatt. The writing is this is wonderful – Power gives such unique voices/styles to both POVs.
This book is dark and gritty. It definitely gets pretty descriptive during some of the more gruesome scenes so that is something to consider before picking this up. It is however, not at all scary. So don’t let the “horror” genre deter you away.
Content Warnings: Body disfigurement, Graphic violence, Gore, Death of a parent, Animal death, Suicide, Self Harm, Starvation, Non-Consensual medical research*
*Some of these were taken from Rory Power’s webpage
What I Liked
- The themes is in this are so subtle and beautifully woven throughout this story. I think this book is so important and touches on some really timely and necessary things. This book at its core, is an allegorical, feminist novel – the “liar” losing her voice, the island trying to “better” the girl’s bodies but instead is slowly killing them. This story felt so much like a modern classic and is a book I could see being read and dissected in classrooms.
- The writing in this was beautiful and absolutely captivating. I will for sure read whatever Rory Power releases next. I loved the juxtaposition of the prose in Hetty’s chapters versus the disjointed, choppy nature of Byatt’s. It really captured their situations and mental states perfectly. I thought it was a wonderful style choice and really drew me in.
What I Didn’t Like
- I didn’t feel anything for these characters. I felt like we never really got to know any of them so as characters were dying/being killed, I felt nothing. I never got emotionally connected to anyone. Which wouldn’t bother me if the plot could stand on it’s own. However…
- There was no real plot. This book meandered and became really repetitive. I just never really felt like it had a direction until the very end. Which leads me to..
- The ending. This was hands down the most open, unsatisfying ending I’ve ever read. I needed something – explanation, closure, commentary, anything.
- On their own, I don’t mind an open end, or a slow plot, or unlikeable/non-relatable characters. In fact a lot of books I love contain these things. However, having all 3 at one time made this book feel underwhelming. There just wasn’t anything for me to latch onto – no plot, no characters, no dramatic reveals. It was just a flat story – despite being beautifully written with important subject matter.
Overall, this fell short for me. However, I will absolutely be picking up whatever Rory Power releases next.