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Summary and book reviews of Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Wilder Girls

by Rory Power

Wilder Girls by Rory Power X
Wilder Girls by Rory Power
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jul 2019, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2020, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Michelle Anya Anjirbag
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About this Book

Book Summary

A feminist Lord of the Flies about three best friends living in quarantine at their island boarding school, and the lengths they go to uncover the truth of their confinement when one disappears. This fresh, new debut is a mind-bending novel unlike anything you've read before.

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.

Excerpt
Wilder Girls

Something. Way out in the white-dark. Between the trees, moving where the thickets swarm. You can see it from the roof, the way the brush bends around it as it rustles to the ocean.

That size, it must be a coyote, one of the big ones hitting shoulder high. Teeth that fit like knives in the palm of my hand. I know because I found one once, the end of it just poking through the fence. Took it back and hid it under my bed.

One more crash through the brush and then the stillness again. Across the roof deck Byatt lowers her gun, rests it on the railing. Road clear.

I keep mine up, just in case, keep the sight raised to my left eye. My other eye's dead, gone dark in a flare-up. Lid fused shut, something growing underneath.

It's like that, with all of us here. Sick, strange, and we don't know why. Things bursting out of us, bits missing and pieces sloughing off, and then we harden and smooth over.

Through the sight, noon sun bleaching the world,     I can...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The two perspectives lead the reader not only through the mystery, but into a meditation on human nature itself, and how people might respond to extraordinary circumstances. Rory Power's Wilder Girls is a powerful novel and a must-read in this current epoch, with urgent messages about what it means to be human when everything is changing...continued

Full Review Members Only (548 words).

(Reviewed by Michelle Anya Anjirbag).

Media Reviews

NPR
This is a fast read, meant to be gripped tightly in tense fingers so that for the span of a few hours, the Raxter School for Girls is all that exists, and we too are subject to the quarantine. An intense reading experience also further conveys the book's heightened, permeating sense of lush nature turned uncanny, of beautiful fruits riddled with worms and rot, and of love so desperate and strong it teeters on the edge of destruction. As the girls of Raxter are consumed and altered by the Tox, readers will be consumed and altered by Wilder Girls.

Hypable
The perfect kind of story for our current era.

Library Journal
While the novel's first half is full of careful world-building and character development, the second half veers sharply into action-packed thrills (and a bit of queer romance), and the dissonance in style is somewhat jarring. Nevertheless, Power's debut remains a quick and engaging read...Dark, surreal, and intense, this feminist-themed title will appeal to fans of science fiction, speculative fiction, and horror; recommended for all libraries serving teens.

Booklist (starred review)
Power's evocative, haunting, and occasionally gruesome debut will challenge readers to ignore its bewitching presence.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Part survival thriller, part post-apocalyptic romance, and part ecocritical feminist manifesto, a staggering gut punch of a book.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Abrupt perspective shifts sometimes disrupt the action, and the finer details of the Tox are left a bit vague even as graphic violence permeates the fast-paced story. Still, the tale’s environmental and feminist themes are resonant, particularly the immeasurable costs of experimentation on female bodies, and the power of female solidarity and resilience amid ecological and political turmoil.

Author Blurb Emily Suvada, author of This Mortal Coil
A groundbreaking speculative story--brutal and beautiful, raw and unflinching.

Author Blurb Dawn Kurtagich, author of Teeth in the Mist
Real, flawed, brave girls against a world gone mad. A shudderingly good read!

Author Blurb Claire Legrand, New York Times bestselling author of Furyborn
Celebrates the resilience of girls and the earthshaking power of their friendships. An eerie, unforgettable triumph.

Author Blurb Jeff VanderMeer, New York Times bestselling author of Annihilation
Wilder Girls is so sharp and packs so much emotion in such wise ways. I'm convinced we're about to witness the emergence of a major new literary star.

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Beyond the Book

Emerging Infectious Diseases

Image of anthrax bacterium under a microscopeIn Rory Powers' debut novel Wilder Girls, the students at the Raxter School for Girls are suffering from a mysterious illness called "the Tox," but other than knowing what the effects are and that some people from the outside world are working on trying to help them, they have no idea what is causing it, or what it even is.

How real is the possibility of a mystery disease affecting a portion of the world in this day and age? It turns out, new viruses are appearing all the time. Existing viruses mutate; antibiotic resistance is a growing concern; new advances in identifying diseases are made; and there is even a concern that climate change, in particular the melting permafrost, will reintroduce viruses that have been dormant for ...

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