Wilder Girls is the debut novel by Rory Power. If you are looking for a gripping novel you can’t put down until the very end when you just sit there in stunned silence thinking, “holy crap what the eff did I just read,” then Wilder Girls may be right for you.
From the publisher:
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.
I knew nothing about this book going in. I chose it because it was on Jennifer Lynn Barnes‘s syllabus for JMC4593 at the University of Oklahoma. It’s a course that teaches young adult fiction writing, using very recent bestsellers as models. Through her required reading list, I’ve been introduced to amazing authors in genres I would not normally choose. Rory Powers’s Wilder Girls is the latest to blow me away.
I’ve seen Wilder Girls described as a feminist Lord of the Flies, and that’s fair, but that only scratches the surface. It’s haunting, and emotional, and terrifying, and gut-wrenching, and exciting, and suspenseful, and so much more, all at once.
I highly recommend Wilder Girls, and I’m excited to learn that Rory Powers’s second novel, Burn Our Bodies Down is coming out this summer. I have no idea what it’s about but I’m really looking forward to it just the same.