What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine

This was such a surprising novel that started off with the premise of one story and transforms into a completely different one. With dark undertones of a fairy tale, follow Maisie as she travels down the road to finding herself and her family.

Here’s more about the book

Cursed. Maisie Cothay has never known the feel of human flesh: born with the power to kill or resurrect at her slightest touch, she has spent her childhood sequestered in her family’s manor at the edge of a mysterious forest. Maisie’s father, an anthropologist who sees her as more experiment than daughter, has warned Maisie not to venture into the wood. Locals talk of men disappearing within, emerging with addled minds and strange stories. What he does not tell Maisie is that for over a millennium her female ancestors have also vanished into the wood, never to emerge—for she is descended from a long line of cursed women.

But one day Maisie’s father disappears, and Maisie must venture beyond the walls of her carefully constructed life to find him. Away from her home and the wood for the very first time, she encounters a strange world filled with wonder and deception. Yet the farther she strays, the more the wood calls her home. For only there can Maisie finally reckon with her power and come to understand the wildest parts of herself.

Alright, I’m having a tough time with expressing what I thought about this book. Like I mentioned earlier, this book starts off with one premise but then becomes a completely different book.

The story starts off with Maisie. She’s a young teenage girl who has the power to kill or revive any living creature. This is anything from animal or human to even that wooden bench you have swinging on your porch.

With this premise alone, I thought this book would be a good one. This story sounded similar to the plot of Pushing Daisies, which is one of my favorite shows about a young man who is able to bring people back from the dead with one touch. Similarly to that show, there’s always consequences to playing with life and death.

However, this book is more than that. This book is about women and their abilities to overcome the worst odds. This book is about the forest and how mystical it is. This book is about fighting for yourself and not letting anyone get in the way of what you deserve. This book is also about the deep desires women have and how those feelings may have no place in the real world and how you can find them in the forest.

The book is broken up into seven different parts. In each part of the book, Julia Fine provides the reader with just enough information on the truth behind Maisie and her powers to keep you going. There’s also two different stories happening at the same time. The first story is Maisie’s. You see her grow up while struggling to keep her powers hidden. You see her try not to touch anything and how happy she is when she finally gets a dog companion. You follow her through her current conflicts as well.

The second story is about the forest and Maisie’s maternal ancestry. The women on Maisie’s mother’s side have all been captured by the forest where people can’t find them and they never age. Part Two shares the stories of how these women were found in the forest. Of course none of these women die from natural causes and some of them don’t die at all. They all found a calling towards the forest near Urizon, their home. They all wander towards that calling and that’s where they find themselves.

While both stories read with different voices and share different timelines (in some parts), they seamlessly come together. Julia Fine is able to wrap up their stories almost like a friendship bracelet. Each thread of each person weaves together to create an incredible tale.

I really stand by my comment about this being a dark modern-day fairy tale. Maisie overcomes herself, her powers, and even the secrets her father kept from her. You see her start off as this shy young girl who is afraid to touch anything and at the end of the story you see her do whatever she needs to do in order to survive. With most “damsels in distress,” you get a lot of complaining on how they need to be saved. For me, I think that Maisie saves herself in this one.

I think one of the issues I had with this book is the pace. While I did love that Julia Fine kept all the big spoilers until the end, I wish that it was delved into earlier in the book. I worry that people may get bored reading early on because it’s difficult to try and picture what else is going on in the woods.

  • Hardcover, 350 pages
  • Harper Books (May 8, 2018)
  • Rating: 4/5 stars

I received a copy of this book from Harper Books for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions have not been influenced by the publisher or the author.


3 thoughts on “What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine

  1. Great post!


    I saw that you are a book blogger. I recently released a book “Life of Randy” I would love it if you would review on your blog with an honest review.

    If you are interested I can send you a free copy in your preferred format.

    Thank you so much for your time

    Philip Lister


  2. I have this one from the library and I’ve read the first chapter. I knew immediately it was going to be a slower read so I haven’t found the right time/mood for it yet. I’m hoping I can get to it before it is due ❤ Great review – thanks 🙂


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