BookBrowse Reviews Wildwood by Colin Meloy, Carson Ellis

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Wildwood by Colin Meloy, Carson Ellis
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2011, 560 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2012, 576 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Tamara Smith

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A spellbinding tale full of wonder that juxtaposes the thrill of a secret world and modern city life. Ages 9+

Here is a world where coyotes have formed an army, where animals talk, where humans and animals live side by side like equals, and where plants and trees can communicate. We're not in Portland anymore. Or are we? Part of the unique and successful structure of Wildwood comes from Colin Meloy's ability to bring these fantastical elements together with the recognizable foundation of Portland, Oregon and its wild - but very real - Forest Park. This highly creative story and firmly grounded landscape, combined with a familiar culture of bureaucratic red tape and politics-as-usual, creates a remarkable debut, one that speaks to - and about - our present state of affairs, as well as our wildest imaginations.

Wildwood Park
A view of one tiny part of the 40 mile Wildwood Trail in Portland, Oregon
Prue McKeel is at the center of Wildwood, a fierce and determined twelve year old bird lover of a girl. When she is entrusted by her parents to watch her baby brother Mac for the day and she witnesses him abducted by a murder of crows, all three of those traits - her fierceness, her determination and her ornithology obsession - are set into high gear as she makes the life changing decision to follow her captured brother into the Impassible Wilderness, a place she has been told never to enter. Just before she goes in, Curtis Mehlberg, a social outcast from Prue's school, joins her - a life changing decision for him as well. They begin their journey together, but are soon separated. Colin Meloy deftly takes the reader back and forth between Prue and Curtis' stories, thus weaving together the various political sides of an ancient war in Wildwood (aka the Impassible Wilderness) and creating a landscape, society and story that is rich, multifaceted and full of intrigue.

The scope of Wildwood is enormous. The landscape of this new world is vast - North Woods, South Woods, the Avian Principality, and Wildwood proper, and it is populated with a multitude of characters, both human and animal. This density of place and character could be confusing to follow, but Colin Meloy writes about each of them with a level of careful detail that allows the reader to keep them all separate and clear."

Wildwood is truly a collaboration between Colin Meloy and illustrator Carson Ellis. Carson Ellis' pen and gouache illustrations are a perfect complement to the story. Her visual representations of memorable characters like Prue, Curtis, the Owl Prince, Brendan King of the Bandits and others are quirky, endearing and add a layer to the narrative that further connects and endears the reader to this new world.

Are we in Portland anymore?  Yes and no. That is the magic of Wildwood. Many of us can look out our windows - past our streets, past the river, past the train tracks - and into the woods that border our own neighborhoods. What other worlds just might exist within these wild places?

Wildwood, the first in a three book series, is well suited for middle grade and young adult readers, and will especially appeal to adventurers!

Reviewed by Tamara Smith

This review is from the September 21, 2011 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.



This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Goodbye Days
    Goodbye Days
    by Jeff Zentner
    Guilt can be a heavy burden for anyone to manage, but it's especially difficult for teenagers. ...
  • Book Jacket: The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
    The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
    by Hannah Tinti
    Hannah Tinti follows her spectacular 2008 debut, The Good Thief, with a novel of uncommon ...
  • Book Jacket: Music of the Ghosts
    Music of the Ghosts
    by Vaddey Ratner
    Music of the Ghosts is about healing and forgiveness, but it is also about identity and the revival ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest
by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Manderley Forever
    by Tatiana de Rosnay

    Bestselling author Tatiana de Rosnay pays homage to Daphne du Maurier.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Stars Are Fire
    by Anita Shreve

    An exquisitely suspenseful novel about an extraordinary young woman tested by a catastrophic event.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Education is the period during which you are being instructed by somebody you do not know, about something you do ...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -