Wilder Girls by Rory PowerWilder Girls by Rory Power

Wilder Girls

byRory Power

Hardcover | July 9, 2019

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"Celebrates the resilience of girls and the earthshaking power of their friendships. An eerie, unforgettable triumph." --Claire Legrand, New York Times bestselling author of Furyborn

"Wilder Girls is so sharp and packs so much emotion in such wise ways. I'm convinced we're about to witness the emergence of a major new literary star." --Jeff VanderMeer, New York Times bestselling author of Annihilation

A feminist Lord of the Flies about three best friends living in quarantine at their island boarding school, and the lengths they go to uncover the truth of their confinement when one disappears. This fresh, new debut is a mind-bending novel unlike anything you've read before.

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.


"Fresh and horrible and beautiful....readers will be consumed and altered by Wilder Girls."-NPR

"This thrilling saga...is sure to be one of the season's most talked-about books, in any genre."--EW

"The perfect kind of story for our current era." --Hypable

"Take Annihilation, add a dash of Contagion, set it at an all-girls' academy, and you'll arrive at Rory Power's occasionally shocking and always gripping Wilder Girls."--Refinery29
Rory Power grew up in Boston, received her undergraduate degree at Middlebury College, and went on to earn an MA in prose fiction from the University of East Anglia. She lives in Massachusetts. Her first novel is the New York Times bestseller Wilder Girls. To learn more about Rory, go to itsrorypower.com and follow @itsrorypower on Twi...
Title:Wilder GirlsFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:368 pages, 8.56 × 5.81 × 1.25 inShipping dimensions:8.56 × 5.81 × 1.25 inPublished:July 9, 2019Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0525645586

ISBN - 13:9780525645580


Rated 5 out of 5 by from A For the Lover of Books Review This book! This is the YA horror book I’ve been wanting every time I read YA horror books. It’s suspenseful. It’s creepy. The characters are well done. It’s so easy to suspend disbelief. It’s just so good. If this review is completely awful because I haven’t written a review since *checks unintentionally abandoned blog* July 7th, please take away that I am begging you to pick this one up. I wasn’t originally going to read Wilder Girls because, as I’ve said on other horror reviews, horror isn’t really my thing. I’ve also been disappointed by really hyped YA horror in the past, so I was highly sceptical of all the Tweets proclaiming their love for Wilder Girls. But then I read Vicky Who Reads’ post (Writer Wednesday: Character Interview with Characters from Rory Power’s Wilder Girls) and was so intrigued I had to pick it up. What immediately drew me in Vicky’s post was Rory Power’s writing style. It’s super unique and blunt. I think the shortness of the sentences really helped the book keep its unsettling air and keep my heart pounding. And it was very unsettling, and I was absolutely hooked. There was one point early on where I actually jumped while reading. The book does a really good job of keeping that unsettling feeling alive for most of the story. There were a handful of moments where it dragged a bit (hence the -0.25 stars), but for the most part this book was creepy from start to finish. Speaking of the ending, first of all, how dare it end like that. There’s no sequel. Like that’s not allowed. Secondly, it left me with a feeling of unease that lasted a couple of weeks. That’s what I want from horror books. I want some sort of unease to stick with me. Horror’s supposed to scare you and creep you out. The characters are so well done. They’re messy and complicated, and I felt for them almost immediately. There was also a little bit of an unreliable narrator element with one of POV characters that I though was really interesting. Of the main 3, Reese was probably my favourite. Now that I’m writing this, I’m realizing that her not having a POV works really well with her character. Ugh. This book is sooo well done! The romance wasn’t really a huge part of the story, but it’s F/F! I believe Reese identifies as queer on the page as well, but don’t quote me on that because I read it a few weeks ago. Overall, Wilder Girls was a fantastic read, earning it 4.75 stars out of 5.
Date published: 2019-08-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Unnerving and horrific in the best way I loved this book, it was unnerving and horrific and haunting in the best way. The isolated setting lends an extra layer of eeriness to it, the quarantined boarding school of girls who are all infected with the Tox are cut off not only by the fence that surrounds their school grounds but by the water surrounding the island. And the island isn't a haven either - the Tox has morphed the flora and fauna into a dark and dangerous woodland. I liked that we aren't coming into this at the outset of the Tox. By the book's opening, the girls are relatively resigned to the occasionally deadly mutations that predictably wrack their body. The key is holding onto just enough of a semblance of organized society to keep things from falling apart completely. I liked the idea of the ending but think another chapter or two would've been nice to flesh it out a little more. Not saying we need a nice clean bow tied on everything, but I felt there was room for a little more lingering expansion that wouldn't detract from the story's last-ditch desperation. This is definitely a book for fans of Annihilation, the Doctor Who "Waters of Mars" episodes if you're familiar with those. Not for fans of body horror.
Date published: 2019-06-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Female Horror *I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review* Wilder Girls is a teen horror that takes place on an isolated island. An illness that has taken over, even harming the wildlife. Each female is affected differently, and the death toll is rising. My only complaint about the storyline is that the ending was unsatisfying. The three main characters abandon all of their classmates and the future of everyone is unclear. Trigger warnings that accompany this book: graphic violence, body horror, gore, character and parental death, animal death, self-harm, starvation, emesis, chemical gassing, suicide, suicidal intention and non-consensual medical treatment. Recommended for fans of Lord of the Flies by William Golding.
Date published: 2019-04-14

Read from the Book

Something. Way out in the white-dark. Between the trees, moving where the thickets swarm. You can see it from the roof, the way the brush bends around it as it rustles to the ocean. That size, it must be a coyote, one of the big ones hitting shoulder high. Teeth that fit like knives in the palm of my hand. I know because I found one once, the end of it just poking through the fence. Took it back and hid it under my bed. One more crash through the brush and then the stillness again. Across the roof deck Byatt lowers her gun, rests it on the railing. Road clear. I keep mine up, just in case, keep the sight raised to my left eye. My other eye’s dead, gone dark in a flare-up. Lid fused shut, something growing underneath. It’s like that, with all of us here. Sick, strange, and we don’t know why. Things bursting out of us, bits missing and pieces sloughing off, and then we harden and smooth over. Through the sight, noon sun bleaching the world,     I can see the woods stretching out to the island’s edge, the ocean beyond. Pines bristling thick like always, rising high above the house. Here and there, gaps where the oak and birch have shed their leaves, but most of the canopy is woven tight, needles stiff with frost. Only the radio antenna breaking through, useless now the signal’s out. Up the road someone yells, and out of the trees, there’s Boat Shift coming home. It’s only a few who can make the trip, all the way across the island to where the Navy delivers rations and clothes at the pier the ferries used to come and go from. The rest of us stay behind the fence, pray they make it home safe. The tallest, Ms. Welch, stops at the gate and fumbles with the lock until at last, the gate swings open, and Boat Shift come stumbling in, cheeks red from the cold. All three of them back and all three of them bent under the weight of the cans and the meats and the sugar cubes. Welch turns to shut the gate behind her. Barely five years past the oldest of us, she’s the youngest of the teachers. Before this she lived on our hall and looked the other way when somebody missed curfew. Now she counts us every morning to make sure nobody’s died in the night. She waves to give the all clear, and Byatt waves back. I’m gate. Byatt’s road. Sometimes we switch, but my eye doesn’t do well looking far, so it never lasts. Either way I’m still a better shot than half the girls who could take my place. The last Boat girl steps under the porch and out of sight, and that’s the end of our shift. Unload the rifles. Stick the casings in the box for the next girl. Slip one in your pocket, just in case. The roof slopes gently away from the flattop deck, third floor to second. From there we swing over the edge and through the open window into the house. It was harder in the skirts and socks we used to wear, something in us still telling us to keep our knees closed. That was a long time ago. Now, in our ragged jeans, there’s nothing to mind. Byatt climbs in behind me, leaving another set of scuff marks on the window ledge. She pushes her hair over one shoulder. Straight, like mine, and a bright living brown. And clean. Even when there’s no bread, there’s always shampoo. “What’d you see?” she asks me. I shrug. “Nothing.” Breakfast wasn’t much, and I’m feeling the shake of hunger in my limbs. I know Byatt is too, so we’re quick as we head downstairs for lunch, to the main floor, to the hall, with its big high ceilings. Scarred, tilting tables; a fireplace; and tall-backed couches, stuffing ripped out to burn for warmth. And us, full of us, humming and alive. There were about a hundred girls when it started, and twenty teachers. All together we filled both wings off the old house. These days we only need one. The Boat girls come banging through the front doors, letting their bags drop, and there’s a scramble for the food. They send us cans, mostly, and sometimes packs of dried jerky. Barely ever anything fresh, never enough for everyone, and on an average day, meals are just Welch in the kitchen, unlocking the storage closet and parceling out the smallest rations you ever saw. But today’s a delivery day, new supplies come home on the backs of the Boat Shift girls, and that means Welch and Headmistress keep their hands clean and let us fight for one thing each. Byatt and me, though, we don’t have to fight. Reese is right by the door, and she drags a bag off to the side for us. If it were somebody else, people would mind, but it’s Reese—left hand with its sharp, scaled fingers—so everyone keeps quiet. She was one of the last to get sick. I thought maybe  it had missed her, maybe she was safe, and then they started. The scales, each a shifting sort of silver, unfolding out of her skin like they were coming from inside. The same thing happened to one of the other girls in our year. They spread across her whole body and turned her blood cold until she wouldn’t wake up, so we thought it was the end for Reese, and they took her upstairs, waited for it to kill her. But it didn’t. One day she’s holed up in the infirmary, and the next she’s back again, her left hand a wild thing but still hers. Reese rips open the bag, and she lets me and Byatt root through it. My stomach clenching, spit thick around my tongue. Anything, I’d take anything. But we’ve got a bad one. Soap. Matches. A box of pens. A carton of bullets. And then, at the bottom, an orange—a real live orange, rot only starting to nip at the peel. We snatch. Reese’s silver hand on my collar, heat roiling under the scales, but I throw her to the floor, shove my knee against the side of her face. Bear down, trap Byatt’s neck between my shoulder and my forearm. One of them kicks; I don’t know who. Clocks me in the back of the head and I’m careening onto the stairs, nose against the edge with a crack. Pain fizzing white. Around us, the other girls yelling, hemming in. Someone has my hair in her fist, tugging up, out. I twist, I bite where the tendons push against her skin, and she whines. My grip loosens. So does hers, and we scrabble away from each other. I shake the blood out of my eye. Reese is sprawled halfway up the staircase, the orange in her hand. She wins.  

Editorial Reviews

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! ★ "Power's evocative, haunting, and occasionally gruesome debut will challenge readers to ignore its bewitching presence."—Booklist, Starred Review ★ "This gritty, lush debut chronicling psychological and environmental tipping points...weaves a chilling narrative that disrupts readers' expectations through an expertly crafted, slow-burn reveal of the deadly consequences of climate change....Part survival thriller, part post-apocalyptic romance, and part ecocritical feminist manifesto, a staggering gut punch of a book."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review ★ "An ode to empowering women and a testament to the strength of female bonds....Far more than just an unsettling horror story, this powerful debut novel about a strange disease at an all-girls boarding school explores female empowerment, friendship and survival with tenacity and brilliance."—Shelf Awareness, Starred Review ★ “Electric prose, compelling relationships, and visceral horror illuminate Power’s incisive debut...[and  its] environmental and feminist themes are resonant, particularly the immeasurable costs of experimentation on female bodies, and the power of female solidarity and resilience amid ecological and political turmoil.”— Publishers Weekly, Starred Review "Tightly coiled narration moves between quietly reserved to vividly but coldly detailed, doubling the horror."—Bulletin "Fresh and horrible and beautiful....readers will be consumed and altered by Wilder Girls."-NPR "This thrilling saga...is sure to be one of the season’s most talked-about books, in any genre.”—EW “The perfect kind of story for our current era.” —Hypable "Take Annihilation, add a dash of Contagion, set it at an all-girls' academy, and you'll arrive at Rory Power's occasionally shocking and always gripping Wilder Girls."-Refinery29 "Your new favorite book."-Cosmopolitan “Everything about this thrilling, unnerving debut will make you want to immediately read it. For fans of Mindy McGinnis and Gillian French.”—Paste “Wilder Girls is so sharp and packs so much emotion in such wise ways. I’m convinced we’re about to witness the emergence of a major new literary star.” —Jeff VanderMeer, author of the New York Times bestseller Annihilation "Wilder Girls is the bold, imaginative, emotionally wrenching horror novel of my dreams—one that celebrates the resilience of girls and the earthshaking power of their friendships. An eerie, unforgettable triumph."—Claire Legrand, New York Times bestselling author of Furyborn “A nightmarish survival story that’s as much literary fiction as it is young adult...I couldn’t look away."—Casey McQuiston, New York Times bestselling author of Red, White, and Royal Blue "The eeriness of Raxter Island permeates every scene, and Rory Power's characters are fierce and honest, blazing from the pages. This is a groundbreaking speculative story—brutal and beautiful, raw and unflinching. I adored this book."—Emily Suvada, author of This Mortal Coil "A feminist, LGBT+, sci-fi-horror story with all the tantalizing elements of gore, mystery, war, and love you can ask for. Real, flawed, brave girls against a world gone mad. A shudderingly good read!” —Dawn Kurtagich, author of Teeth in the Mist