Wilder Girls

Wilder Girls

Book - 2019
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Friends Hetty, Byatt, and Reece go to extremes trying to uncover the dark truth about the mysterious disease that has had them quarantined at their boarding school on a Maine island.
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.
Publisher: New York : Delacorte Press, [2019]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9780525645580
Branch Call Number: Power, R
Power, R
Power, R
Characteristics: 357 pages ; 22 cm


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SAPL_Teens Jan 27, 2021

A deadly disease at the Raxter School for Girls that leaves it’s victim less of who they were. Hetty, our protagonist is one of the few left after the Tox outbreak. Those that have survived are left with ghastly scars. Byatt has bones shooting out from her spine. Reese has a silver clawed hand. And Hetty’s eye has swollen shut as something stirs beneath it. Because of this everything has an order and must be done safely. When Hetty is recruited for a group that goes out to get the supplies dropped off by the people outside their school, she sees that everything may not be so understandable. Supplies wasted and girls missing. Hetty must choose whether or not she really wants to find out the truth of the Tox. Or fall victim to it’s cruel grip. Rory Power’s first novel is definitely one I will be reading again. Splendid imagery and a plot that just keeps getting thicker. Characters that you can’t help loving and hating, with them through sickness and health. The ways she rights this haunting tale into these pages is horrifying. How far would you go to know the truth? 5/5 stars - SAPL Read It & Review Contributor

Jan 20, 2021

An amazing and disturbing story about a plague that forces a bunch of young girls into quarantine, transforming their bodies in disturbing and twisted ways. Horrific and uncomfortable, "Wilder Girls" is a great for readers who love novels like "Lord of the Flies," "The Island of Doctor Moreau" or "Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer. What a creepy, edge of your seat kind of story!

LoganLib_Sheridan Jan 11, 2021

I don't think I can talk about this book without spoilers. There is just so much to discuss and believe me it's not good. There is just so much that could have been done with this book that wasn't. It is an excellent thing this book is short and that I was reading it for book club or I would probably not have picked it up let along finished it.

** spoiler alert **

Okay so... the ending. The ending is so bad I don't even know where to begin. You're just going to go off to the mainland while contagious with a weird worm virus (yeah let's not even start with that)? I dunno if that just reads different in Covid days but really?

I can't even remember if Byatt is dead or like half-dead. Also she kissed a dude without any protection because she didn't think it affected boys despite knowing it affected Reese's dad? By the way, what has estrogen got to with a virus/parasite? I mean okay, it's fiction but there is just a complete lack of explanation about this thing.

Like the only thing they really did right was Hetty and Reese's relationship after she was forced to shoot Reese's father. I thought the relationships were done well and that was about it. Even then they weren't done well enough for me to connect with any character that wasn't the main three

Jan 08, 2021

I thought the plot was interesting, but I was disappointed by the storytelling. I felt like the writing was somewhat disjointed and, at times, difficult to understand, which prompted me to read several sentences multiple times. However, I do appreciate that the author developed characters in the LGBT+ community because I find that books do not often include sexual or gender diverse characters.

FPL_Ashley Dec 14, 2020

Wilder Girls is a gripping read that has a wonderfully built setting on Raxter island where the Tox, a new endemic disease, is infecting and mutating everything and everyone living on the island. I really enjoyed following along with the triad of main characters as they try to uncover the truth about the Tox and what is really happening on the island. The ending left me with many questions so if you prefer books with tidy conclusions this is not the book for you.

JCLAnneG Oct 27, 2020

A gritty thriller about a pandemic apocalypse with LGBTQIA diverse characters, and is absolutely amazing. Every girl is strong, and every girl has a strange disability - it's haunting, suspenseful, and I absolutely loved it.

Aug 12, 2020

Wilder Girls by Rory Power is a novel that is a sapphic horror genre as it is violent and gory, about characters who are literally my wildest dreams come true. They are all women who are unapologetic, unlikeable, queer and young. The story is based around an all-girls boarding school set on an island during quarantine where one of the protagonist’s friends goes missing, and it is a race to search how the friend went to disappear and to find the hidden secrets kept behind the island. The story’s atmosphere invests around horrific circumstances in which a school that used to be fully-packed and fully-functioning diminishes instantly, also known as the tox, where a majority of the teachers and students are wiped out and for those who survive, will face night terror-like consequences. Overall, I really enjoyed the characters throughout this novel, the different points of view, and the escalating tensions. I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone specifically of those who are a part of the IGBTQ community, or an individual who enjoys horror in terms of violence, glory and psychological horrors. It was a very fun read that brought chills up my body, in a good way. Definitely give this one a read! 4.5/5 stars
@Bookland of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

I am so, SO conflicted about this one. 3.5 stars I guess because I enjoyed it, but not to the level I wanted to; this was a classic case of unfulfilled expectations, and I'm kind of sad about it.

Raxter School houses girls from eleven up to graduating age, out on a tiny island off the coast of Maine. A strange Tox has ripped through the school, causing all kinds of mutations and, in the worst cases, death. In this eat-or-be-eaten environment, Hetty and Byatt have banded together; Byatt is the strong one, the firecracker, the one willing to do anything to survive, and Hetty loves her for it. Reese is the third in their unbalanced triad, but when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to get her back, including sacrificing herself to the forest full of strange and unnatural creatures that surrounds the school.

Cool premise, right? A weird disease that causes mutations like second spines forming, gills sprouting, second hearts beating. The grotesque elements were done really well I thought - I had to put the book down a few times because the descriptions of certain mutations, activities, or injuries were so visceral that I wanted to throw up.

The characters were where I felt this one fell a little flat. I liked them well enough - or, more accurately, I disliked them well enough, since I do feel that all of the three main characters are meant to be unsympathetic in their own ways. Hetty is a follower, Reese, a closed book, and Byatt, a mean girl thrown into a situation where she is forced to work with those around her but who does what she wants when she wants at the expense of everyone else. But for some reason, I just felt them all to be lukewarm. I didn't really care when Byatt went missing; I was way more interested in hearing from her than I was with Hetty, because I did want answers about the Tox and why it ravaged Raxter.

But then, the plot was also lacking for me. There's great, atmospheric world-building (I often felt like I could smell the air on the island as I was reading) with creepy creatures everywhere and a foreboding sense of danger that's ever-present, but the plot is very much just things *happening* to these girls. Everything is cool and normal until Hetty is promoted to boat shift. Then again, it's all chill until Byatt disappears. I suppose there's not much else for these girls to do when they're quarantined on an island, but I just felt like the plot was lacklustre and somewhat predictable.

This is basically like Annihilation-lite. Granted, I didn't read the book, only saw the movie, but this feels like its cousin, right down to the creepy, skeletal bear. I liked the world, liked the premise, but I found the execution somewhat disappointing.

Apr 14, 2020

Very disappointing. The plot had so much potential but I never felt the horror of being infected with a new endemic virus that has no cure. I never felt the fear of being quarantined on a remote island away from home, with only fellow students and two remaining teachers, trying to survive day to day amid spontaneous viral attacks, deaths, and scant food and water. The island should have been its own eerie character since it's teeming with infected plants and animals, but it didn't really feel as threatening as it should have. The virus origin is revealed almost as an afterthought, and if social commentary was the aim it missed the mark. The main characters are real and 'normal' enough, but none are that interesting, especially the girl whose POV we spend the most time with. I didn't care about them or their relationships at all. Overall it's just flat and without colour for me. Dialogue was wooden, pace was uneven, the writing is blah, and the ending felt a bit rushed and anticlimactic. One part I DID like (without revealing too much) had a dream-like, semi-conscious stream of thought sort of prose... but that was it. Sad to say but the best thing about it really is the cover. Don't get caught up in its marketing hype and rave reviews.

LPL_KarenA Jan 10, 2020

Eerie, horrific, and gory. Wilder Girls will leave you with a sense of desolation and unrelenting bleakness. This one is perfect for teens interested in exploring the darker side of humanity.

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Dec 21, 2020

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"Do you think I want this?" she says. She sounds hoarse, and I can barely pick out one word from the next, every ounce of exhaustion crashing down on both of us at once. "We don’t get to choose what hurts us."

Sep 21, 2019

“She’s never liked us much, not since she complained that there were no boys on the island, and Reese gave her the blankest look I’ve ever seen and said, “Plenty of girls, though.” ― Rory Power, Wilder Girls


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Sep 21, 2019

Frightening or Intense Scenes: Graphic scenes detailing character death, and self harm.


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