Minda’s pregnant review of Wilder Girls by Rory Power
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.
Synopsis from Goodreads
What I drank prior: Nothing since I have to think about this book—ick. Not like the book itself, but the graphic (like, super graphic) descriptions of the illness.
Spoiler-free Overview: The Raxter School for Girls on a remote island in Maine has been under quarantine for over a year since the Tox took over. Still with no cure, the number of girls left alive has dwindled and only the headmistress and one teacher remain. A select group of girls are given the power to break the quarantine to find supplies, and our MC Hetty now finds herself as one of them. When her best friend goes missing, she takes it upon herself to find answers.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: I picked up this one at ALA. It was billed as a female Lord of the Flies, but maybe I need a refresher on that book. It was a pretty quick read, but very, very gruesome. Like you have to be in the mood for it gruesome. Also, it’s very weird. Didn’t hate it, but not my typical read it turns out.
Characters: We have a trio of girls: Hetty, Byatt, and Reese. They all have distinctly different personalities: Hetty is the quiet one, Byatt is the leader, and Reese is the forceful one. Their relationships seem pretty unhealthy to me, including the weird love/hate relationship between Hetty and Reese. Also, both the women in charge were The Worst. There I said it.
Plot: It takes a bit to get there for a less than 300 page book, but eventually the action gets going when Byatt goes missing. Hetty, who is like weirdly attached to Byatt, makes it her mission to find her. But, since she can’t leave the premises because of the quarantine, leads to large issues. While Hetty and a reluctant Reese are on the search, Byatt is sharing her own creepy story of what’s happening with her. Much of the plot throughout the book is spent describing—in super graphic detail—how the Tox is morphing these girls’ bodies into something(s) else since no infection seems the same.
World Building: Eh this was probably too gross/weird for me, but I appreciate the world building. You could definitely feel those (creepy) Raxter vibes.
Um can we talked about how Byatt legit murdered that boy just because she could? And there were no consequences? We also never really examined her super weird relationship with Hetty.
And I still don’t understand what happened with the headmistress/the teacher. So the teacher was trying to starve them because she had a thing against testing? Seems flimsy to me. And I feel like if you really wanted to protect the students, you need to get rid of the headmistress, right?
What to pair it with: Definitely something that won’t make you want to throw it back up when you read about the Tox. Sprite and vodka maybe?
Rating: 3/5 shots