The Tox started 18 months ago, and all the remaining girls want is to get off the island and back to their families. The Quarantine keeps them stuck, though, unable to talk to the other side. When Hetty’s best friend Byatt goes missing, she’ll do anything to find her–even if it means breaking the Quarantine.
Why this book?: I’d heard it’s sapphic, plus being horror sci-fi!
I would like to thank Delacorte Press for allowing me access to this ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Let me be straight with y’all–this book is freaking weird. I don’t know how else to describe it other than that: weird as hell. The most important thing to understand when starting this book is that it’s weird, that’s okay, and it might take a while for you to understand the entire world/idea of the Tox. Once you get used to it, this book is a wild ride from beginning to end, and it doesn’t slow down. Well, it slows down a little, but it’s still a weirdly enjoyable read.
On one hand, I really enjoyed the characters in this book, but on the other hand, the amount of characters was hard to juggle. Wilder Girls takes place at an ex-boarding school turned refuge, and you’re introduced to a lot of characters all at once. At first, you think “oh, these characters won’t matter as much”, but then there’s scenes when one of the random girls is included, and you have no idea who they are. Other characters are added in, barely developed, and they actually play important parts to the story. There were quite a few characters that I really enjoyed, but they were mostly the POV characters and Reese. Others were killed off, not well developed, or just left alone completely.
This was a thrilling, creepy story, and I really wanted to know so much more about the Tox. Different people reacted differently to it, and it was so interesting how it was figured out and how people dealt with it. I also really enjoyed how everyone had their own motivations, and the main protagonists were so well developed that what they were doing made sense for them. Powers knew what she was doing when she wrote this, and it was absolutely terrifying. Thinking back on this book, its so creepy and amazing and I couldn’t get enough of it.
Final Rating: ★★★★☆
If you want queer horror, this is the book for you. It’s so intense and scary, and so delightfully queer. One of my favorite parts is that, while it focuses on a queer relationship, it also focuses greatly on an extremely close friendship, and it was refreshing to see these two types of relationships side by side. One wasn’t trivialized by the other, and the protagonist fought for both. After going through so many books where platonic relationships are dropped over romantic ones, I loved it.
Would I Recommend?
Yes, unless you struggle with graphic violence, body horror, and gore. It’s a very explicit book, so please double check the trigger warnings below (provided from the authors website).
TW for graphic violence, body horror, gore, on page character death, parental death, animal death (non-pet animals), behavior and description language similar to self-harm, including references. Also, starvation, food scarcity, vomiting, a scene showing chemical gassing, reference to suicide and suicide ideation, and non-consensual medical treatment. (Trigger warning list found at the author’s website here.)
Published: July 9th, 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Page Count: 368
Genre: Young Adult/Horror/Science Fiction
Synopsis: via Goodreads
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.