My Rating ~ Four stars
RELEASED: 9 July 2019
Publisher: Macmillan’s Children’s Books
Everyone loses something to the Tox; Hetty lost her eye, Reese’s hand has changed, and Byatt just disappeared completely.
It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put in quarantine. The Tox turned the students strange and savage, the teachers died off one by one. Cut off from the mainland, the girls don’t dare wander past the school’s fence where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure as the Tox takes; their bodies becoming sick and foreign, things bursting out of them, bits missing.
But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her best friend, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie in the wilderness past the fence. As she digs deeper, she learns disturbing truths about her school and what else is living on Raxter Island. And that the cure might not be a cure at all…
Thank you to Macmillan Australia for providing me with a copy of Wilder Girls in exchange for an honest review!
Hetty and all the other girls from her school are alone. Sealed off from the rest of the world after a deadly disease struck 18 months ago, known as The Tox. The Tox strikes the girls as they reach a certain age – deforming their bodies in different ways. As they dutifully collect food rations, dropped off by the army and struggle to survive, they hold on to their sanity in the knowledge a cure will come one day.
When Hetty starts to realise things might not be as they seem, and she’s forced to keep secrets she shouldn’t keep, things start to unravel. When her best friend Byatt disappears, she vows she will do whatever it takes to get her back.
I loved the atmosphere in this book, the slow reveal of it’s secrets and the horrors they contained. The story was unique, dark and riveting – if a little gory at times. For a book set mostly in a very small space, the world building was actually really well done. It didn’t over do it and force us through minute details, but it gave enough to form a clear picture in my mind and got on with the story, which is exactly where I wanted to be!
The complicated friendships between the girls, especially Hetty and her two friends, Byatt and Reese, made the narrative so much more interesting than the common ‘3 BFF’s’ trope, and we still got to know a few of the other girls surprisingly well for background characters.
This was such an engrossing survival story and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys disease outbreak type stories or books such as Lord of the Flies!
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