Wilder Girls by Rory Power
Publication Date: July 9th, 2019
When I initially requested this book, I was interested and mildly intrigue by the unique strangeness of it all. I was not expecting to love Wilder Girls, but I totally did. This book is super intense, and I did not see that coming at all. Wilder Girls is a feminist horror that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end. The main mystery of the book (what is the Tox and how it appeared) is revealed in bits and pieces without you really knowing it until all the pieces snap into place at the very end. It was the most satisfying snap of the year (Avengers joke, I’m sorry). I’m going to try to keep this review on the short side, because I don’t want to give away any spoilers on accident.
What I Liked:
- THE MYSTERY. UGH. I don’t know what it is about Rory Power’s writing, but the way things are revealed is perfect. You don’t even know that you know until the very end. It was such a satisfying reveal.
- I really enjoyed the setting. The entire story takes place on an isolated island under quarantine. Since the island and its inhabitants are invested with the Tox, the same locations are used more than once, but Rory Power keeps the setting from feeling repetitive, almost like the its being altered by the Tox as well.
- This book surprised me at every turn. I had no idea how any of the pieces connected and I had so many theories. I was constantly trying to beat the book to the punch, and this time I totally failed (and I loved it). There’s nothing quite like being blind-sided by a good twist.
- I really liked all the characters. They were each complex and multi-faceted, and I really enjoyed their interactions.
- Also, all the characters in the book have super original and unique names (i.e. Hetty, Reese, Byatt) and I appreciated that.
- Rory Power’s writing is enchanting. She paints an extravagantly graphic picture on every page (more on this later), and absolutely pulls you in to the story.
What I Didn’t Like:
- The graphic writing combined with the gory subject matter didn’t always sit well with me. I do think I gagged a few times and had to skim a section or two, but it was worth it. If you have a stronger stomach than I, you’ll fly through this. (Trigger & Content Warnings for WG will be included at the end of the review.)
Wilder Girls was a total change of pace for me, and it surprised the hell out of me. It was actually in the top spot of favorite books of the year for a few weeks before Red, White and Royal Blue bumped it to #2 (Sorry Rory). (Shouty RW&RB review here.) One thing I loved about WG is that all the imagery is so vivid and realistic that you get enraptured with the story and kind of, sort of lose track of time (well, at least I did). Ultimately, Wilder Girls is an elaborate mystery filled with damaged girls, fierce friends, grotesque mutations, and the strength to survive. I really can’t recommend this book enough. I’ve been shouting at people about it for months. I know Wilder Girls is a standalone, but I do hope that Rory revisits this world soon. I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS, OKAY?! But honestly, I will probably read anything Rory writes from now on. I am Rory Power Trash. Ready to join the club?
*Thank you NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.*
Trigger and Content Warnings:
Graphic violence and body horror. Gore.
On the page character death, parental death, and animal death, though the animals are not pets.
Behavior and descriptive language akin to self harm, and references to such.
Food scarcity and starvation. Emesis.
A scene depicting chemical gassing.
Reference to suicide and suicidal ideation.
Non-consensual medical treatment.