I went into reading this book imagining it was going to be the Lord of the Flies for girls, but it’s really not close to Lord of the Flies aside from the fact they’re quarantined to an island for 18 months with no idea if they’ll ever get off.
Here’s more about Wilder Girls:
I’m going to start recapping the book by first explaining the strange circumstances. There’s an all-girls academy on this little island off the coast of America. At some point prior to quarantine, the girls were infected with some strange disease. They don’t know much about it and neither do the people in charge or the government, so that’s what left them to quarantine them there. The disease itself is crippling. For some girls, it kills them right away. For others, it mutates their bodies taking away their vision, their limbs, their tongues. One girl even grew a second spine that sits outside of her back. The other part is that it affected the island itself. Animals have gone blood thirsty and vines have a mind of their own. No one leaves the safety of the school and the girls are also taught to fight against whatever monsters exist outside the school’s grounds.
So now that you know what’s going on outside of the story, it’s also about three girls who live in the same dorm room and are the best of friends. When one of the girls goes through more mutations from the disease, she’s put into an infirmary room to recover. When one of her best friends notices that she’s disappeared from the infirmary, the girls start to panic as they take matters into their own hands and explore the treacherous island meanwhile all hoping that a cure will come any day now.
This story is so atmospheric bringing a sense of the isolation, fear, and friendship between these girls. If you’re into thrillers, female friendships, and adventure, then this is the book for you. Trigger Warning: This book does depict some pretty gruesome scenes as well as loss and grief.
This book had me running the gamut of emotions. I was scared because the monsters and the disease are absolutely frightening. The ending was also super scary and while I don’t want to give it away or spoil it, just know that the fear runs throughout the novel. It’s so excellent in its horror portions.
But the other part of this book is the female friendships. Oh goodness. I feel like our real-life female friendships are based off a mutual understanding of one another and our situations. We find camaraderie with other women because they’ve been through something similar to what we’ve been through and that’s exactly what happens here except the circumstances are more life-threatening than say my life.
There’s no catty girl who despite all the changes is still catty. The girls in this book are all friends because they’re all dealing with the deaths of their other friends, the mutations in their bodies, and the utter isolation of being quarantined to your school. And imagine being in that state for 18 months without seeing or speaking to your family, without setting foot off the property. Without any cellphones.
The bond between the girls either platonically or otherwise (there’s some LGBTQIA+ representation in this book) is so strong. It makes you consider how you and your friends became so close and appreciate that friendship a heck more.
I will say that the most surprising part of this book was the ending. I don’t want to give it away, but once the girls find out the truth about the outside world I started to cry. You will feel so much for these girls, hoping for the best for them. You hope that they see the end of their misery or the silver lining amongst the mutations. I literally threw this book across the room because it was upsetting me so much.
All in all, a tremendously beautiful read for this debut author. At certain points, I found myself a little bit bored or just reading to get to another girl’s perspective, but pretty much at the halfway mark this book really takes off. I will most definitely be reading more from this author in the future.