This was sufficiently compelling and creepy; a story of corruption and desperation.
Also I have SO much appreciation for the cover design now that I’ve read the book. It fits 10005% amazingly (plus is just altogether one of my favourite covers of 2019; I am always here for the murdery forest aesthetic). I got a lot of Maze Runner x Aurora Rising vibes from this book (throw in a bit of Stranger Things and monsters). It was fascinating and, often, disturbing. The cliffhanger left me feeling “???!?!?!” so least to say I hope there’s a sequel. Otherwise I feel like we only skimmed the surface of this world of Tox.
The aesthetic was just incredible — it weaves together this undefinable sickness that mutates the girls with this island basically got to rot and ruin. It’s supposed to be just a “normal” boarding school. But it’s been 1.5 years since the outbreak and they’re in quarantine. They’re dying. They’re being eaten alive and ripped inside out. Rory has something growing under her eye. Reese has a silver hand. Byatt has a second spine. The forest is wild; the wildlife is feral and rabid. They can’t get off the island. They don’t know what’s killing them and they’re waiting for the government to find a cure.
(cue hysterical laughter from everyone who’s watched a single sci-fi movie because when does the government!!! ever !!! pull through!!!!)
The setting was compelling and chilling and definitely the standout. However I needed more information? Very little backstory and I just felt the whole thing needed to be deeper.
It is violent (not overly graphic) and the girls are desperate, bitterly competitive, and hardened. They’re just trying to stay alive in this school-turned-apocalypse-setting.
They’re all fighting tooth and claw to survive and I really ached for Hetty. I didn’t understand Byatt tbh. It was insinuated that “more” was going on with her character (like she was a compulsive liar or…something?) but I’m still confused. Also her chapters were disjointed and confusing — possibly for a purpose but they just left me like thrown from the story. I understood why Reese was angry and cold — but being cruel to people because you hurt wins zero points from me. Especially when she never apologised.
I loved how Hetty and Reese fell together, those quick stolen kisses. Overall the romance is light but powerful.
What I loved about the characters was: how deeply and inexplicably they needed each other. They weren’t just friends, they were so caught up in each other that they needed each other like a heartbeat. Complex and codependant messy relationships driven by love are just 😭💛 Their need was so well written.
// it leaves you with so so many questions
The eerie setting, the parasitic disease, the vines growing out of people and mutations and hunger and trapped aloneness — it was amazing to read. You FEEL this book, you do.
But I don’t understand the Tox and I felt the book needed to be deeper and have everything explored more.
thanks to Pan Macmillan for the ARC! WILDER GIRLS by Rory Power came out July 8th, 2019.
The Power meets We Were Liars in Rory Power’s compelling, visceral and completely unputdownable YA debut about survival and the power of female friendships.
Everyone loses something to the Tox; Hetty lost her eye, Reese’s hand has changed, and Byatt just disappeared completely.
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 . . .
| WHAT DO YOU THINK? |
have you read this one? is it on your tbr? let me know if you like books with creepy sci-fi illnesses or if it freaks you out!