A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Thriller meant to entertain.
Even in the most difficult and terrifying times, friendships can keep you strong.
Positive Role Models
Hetty, Byatt, and Reece are relentless in their determination to protect one another and to find out what's really happening on the island. And all the girls have had to learn to work together to ensure their survival. They have to become bold (serving on Boat Shift and Gun Shift), caring and gentle when one of their number relapses from the Tox, and fierce when they find themselves in danger and have have to respond with lethal force.
Violence & Scariness
Some of the girls are armed with (and use) rifles, pistols, and knives to protect themselves from the island's Tox-infected animals and at times one another. Characters are slammed to the floor, bitten, stabbed, and shot. A girl has her throat ripped out by a fox. Descriptions of characters suffering from the Tox are vivid and often bloody — minds driven mad by the virus, skin that's turned to shiny scales, weeping sores, blood dripping constantly from a body part, an extra spine growing on a girl's body. A deer is shot and wounded by a student and then eaten alive by another deer. A young man hangs himself.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two girls kiss, and a girl and young man exchange a single kiss.
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A few uses of "f--k," "s--t,", "Jesus," and "goddamn."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rory Power's Wilder Girls is a dystopian thriller set on a remote island off the coast of Maine. The Raxter School for Girls has been quarantined for 18 months because of the Tox, a deadly virus that kills or disfigures both humans and animals. Those still alive at the school wait for a cure promised by the government. And as they wait, more girls die. Told in alternating chapters by 16-year-old best friends, Hetty and Byatt, the story is often violent and graphically recounted. Girls use rifles, pistols, and knives to protect themselves from the island's Tox-stricken and blood thirsty animals, and sometimes even each other. Characters are slammed to the floor, bitten, stabbed, and shot. Two girls realize they've fallen in love with each other but go no further than kissing, and there are a few uses of profanity ("f--k," "s--t,", "Jesus," and "goddamn").
Is It Any Good?
The violence in this often-grisly dystopian novel never overshadows the core of its compelling story of girls unprepared for an almost apocalyptic event who band together to create a new society. A society in which they must be caring and supportive and also make unimaginable choices about life and death for some of their own. There's a horrible virus, terrifying beasts roaming the woods, and a mystery to be solved -- and the empowered teens in Wilder Girls bravely step up and take it all on.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.