By Rory Power
Published July 2019 by Delacorte Press
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.
If you’re looking for a bad-ass group of girls who live in their own version of a horror movie, then you definitely need to read Wilder Girls.
This book gave me the heebie jeebies and it’s been a while since I’ve read a book that’s made my skin crawl, and I loved it. Like Hetty’s eye legit creeped me out ok. IS THERE SOMETHING IN HER EYE???
So anyway, Hetty and Byatt are two of a group of girls who live at Raxter School for Girls. It’s on an island and the school is remote. Which makes the perfect setup for terror to happen, right?
Something has happened on the island and everything is infected; the plants, animals and even the girls. They call it the Tox. They’ve been told by the Navy that they’d find a cure and fix them, but so far they’re still stuck at the school and rely on shipments of food and supplies to keep them going.
Every girl has some sort of mutation, and they’re all honestly terrifying. But the girls don’t seem at all squeamish about what’s going on with them. They sew each other up and help each other as best they can, except when the food arrives. Then it’s every girl for themselves trying to get good food.
They’ve reinforced a wall around their school with lids of cans, glass shards, etc. because the animals also have the Tox and it makes them act abnormal. Like the deer, omg. A deer with fangs?
There’s some romance in this book, but it isn’t a main point of the plot (but it is there!) and it definitely takes a back seat to the other out of this world stuff that’s happening. It’s easy to get swept up in the hopeless feeling that these girls are doomed and no one will be able to save them.
Let’s not forget that while reading this I was simultaneously hopeful that they’d find a cure and anxiety that something in the woods was going to eat them before they’d ever find a cure. And of course, there’s secrets that start coming out as the book goes on.
We also don’t get a full version of what exactly caused this Tox to happen, but as the book goes on we do pick up bits and pieces of what’s going on. And when Byatt disappears from the school, we do get to read things from her perspective and gain more info about what’s potentially going on.
So, I rated this book 5 stars, but that is on the premise that this book will hopefully have a sequel. If this is truly a standalone novel, I’m gonna have some issues. There’s quite a bit of unresolved stuff when this story ends and I’d really like some answers.