Wilder Girls by Rory Power


Content/Trigger Warnings: Death, parental death, grief, animal death, gore, graphic content, graphic violence, body horror, talk of self harm, emesis, talk of starvation, suicide/suicide ideation, non-consensual medical treatment/testing

“Some days it’s fine. Others it nearly breaks me. The emptiness of the horizon, and the hunger in my body, and how will we ever survive this if we can’t survive each other?”

Raxter School for Girls was like any other boarding school for girls. Everyone has their group of friends, classes felt longer than they should, and some of the teachers were pretty cool. But it’s been eighteen months now since the whole school has been put under quarantine and eighteen month since the Tox. Eighteen months since they promised a cure. Now, Hetty’s life has been flipped upside down as the Tox seems to grow and expand every day. Claiming a new life or new territory in it’s clutches. Now that most of the teachers have died off, only a couple of students have survived the infections, and only one teacher and a headmistress keep the peace. But when Hetty’s friend, Byatt goes missing, Hetty will stop at nothing to uncover the truth of what’s really happening. Horrifying beasts, lies, secrets, and the risk of losing everyone… Hetty will learn of things she never imagined where happening.

This book… this book right here was a real trip! I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did especially going in knowing the way this book ends and it being a stand alone book. I was blown away and I’m still reeling from this book as whole! This is going to be such a huge fall read for so many readers and if it hasn’t already made it onto your TBR, you should hop on that!

Wilder Girls follows two point of views. Most of the time the point of views are told from Hetty, but we have enough sections throughout this book that we can see things through Byatt’s perspective. While I liked Hetty’s point of view, I think Byatt was the most interesting because we got to see an area that wasn’t on the island or in the boarding school. In fact, some of the things that happen in Byatt’s sections had me cringing more than Hetty’s. And with both perspectives, it was so easy to get wrapped up in everything happening. You get sucked into this hole of what’s happening to these two girls and you find yourself unable to forget the things that are happening to them. Although, I will say that I really enjoy when Hetty, Reese, and Byatt are all together. They give me some nostalgia of my old friends and our little band of misfits.

I do want to take a moment to appreciate how natural the relationships are described and explored in this book. No group of friends are perfect, no school clique is perfect, and you’ll get those flaws. I loved that Rory tapped into that and showed us those flaws and to show us how even the unlikeliest pairing can find attraction to one another. I really liked that the topic of having friendships and romance can both coexist together and that there’s always room for that in someone’s life. The romance that bloomed in this book felt so vivid that ever time an intense intimate moment ended I would want more. And I really liked how this book subtly addressed how people hurt one another not because they mean to, but people are messy and they make mistakes that can hurt someone’s feelings. I loved that and it made me get a little soft and sappy. But I think the thing that I truly appreciated out of all of this was all of the characters were allowed to be selfish and mean – not because they’re terrible people or have ill intentions, but it was all due to the circumstances they’re in being unkind and that every person has a limit of how much kindness and positivity they can dredge up when your life is on a thin line of life and death.

“She’s never liked us much, not since she complained that there were no boys on the island, and Reese gave her the blankest look I’ve ever seen and said, “Plenty of girls, though.”

And among all of this beautiful chaos, I never stopped being invested in the characters and their feelings. I think this will be the part many readers differ on just due to the character development, but I truly loved each of the three main characters when they’re together and when they’re away from one another. As I said before, it’s a bit of a nostalgic type vibe for me because I have been around personalities like all three of the main characters. And it was so easy for me to become invested in them because they’re emotions and energies I recognize all too well. And I think the parts that really choked me were the most emotional parts. I won’t say which two, but one was an extremely emotional point for Reese and the other was a highly emotional point for Hetty. Their feelings are just unforgettable and they leave an emotional imprint with you while you read this book.

Speaking of unforgettable things, can I say holy cow this book packs a punch?! If you were expecting a book to slowly chill you to the core then this is not the book for you. Everything happens in waves and it’s incredibly hard to recover from. Rory doesn’t not hold back at all. She went full throttle with dark, scary, traumatic, morbid, and terrifying. Rory really makes you believe that this is something that can truly happen. This is the book you want to go in blind to especially if you’re a lover of horror and survival books. Rory writes so realistically that you will feel like you’re actually in the book experiencing everything and that’s something you really want to feel with this book. If you’re like me, you’re going to have a hard time putting this book down once you get started.

“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.”

I did have a few issues with this book though. My first issue is a minor thing and not that big of a deal, but I really would have liked the author to have done more research when bringing the military into this book. The wrong military branch was used for issuing the quarantine of the island and the boarding school. Instead of it being the Navy, it’s supposed to be the Coast Guard. I can understand why many would assume it’s the Navy especially since the Coast Guard isn’t mentioned often and is the branch of military that’s often forgotten, but as someone who has family and friends who serve in the military, I feel like someone needed to state this correction. Also, a lot of the times it would throw me off every time the Navy was mentioned instead of the Coast Guard while I was reading. It made reading the beginning a little difficult. Then there was the minor incident near the end where Hetty saves the last young child of the surviving girls only for Hetty to later on grab Reese and basically throw the other girls to the wolves. I felt like there was no true purpose of that if Hetty and Reese were just going to abandon all the other girls and leave them on that island to die. I still have no words for that whole part.

I really wish I could end my review with that, but I have to talk about that ending. Now as I mentioned, I already knew I was going to dislike the ending. I knew the ending was going to be problematic before I even considered picking up this book… However, I wasn’t expecting it to go down the way it did. I’m still trying to bleach the ending from my memory and not let it be associated with the rest of the book. The ending tried to go a typical science fiction route, in which case the explanation should have been slowly revealed throughout the book from start to end, but instead it was just dumped into your lap at the end. Nothing in the whole story indicated to that this was how the book was going to end. It really felt like the author didn’t know how to close out the book so she went with two topics that are very popular and often over used. The first one is often featured in hardcore sci-fi books and movies, the other being more popular in fiction and dystopian books. I honestly would have loved the ending more if we had no answers rather than the answers we were given. I would go as far to say anything would have been better compared to that ending.

“We don’t get to choose what hurts us” 

Overall, this was an enticing read for me. As I mentioned, I loved this book and it was extremely hard for me to put down. I loved the characters and I loved the essence this book gives off with it’s darkness and horror. I definitely believe this is a book many readers will pick up during the fall season due to the fact that it’s such an atmospheric read. I also truly believe this is a book worth reading and putting forth the time into it. However, just know that this book might not conclude the way you want or hope it would.


18 thoughts on “Wilder Girls by Rory Power

  1. Brilliant review!! I don’t think I’m quite the right reader for this as horror really isn’t my thing but I loved reading your thoughts on the book :)))

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awe, I’m so glad you liked the review! ❤️ I definitely think if you’re a reader who normally doesn’t read survival books or books that horror factors in them, then this book might definitely be a bit much. However, I would recommend doing it as a buddy just because it would relieve a little bit of the stress and you would have someone to instantly message if things become too much or you need to vent about something.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Awe yay! It really was a fantastic read and it was so hard for me to put it down. Aside from those minor things I mentioned, I recommend it with my whole being! It’s definitely going to make for a good camping book or book to read around the fall. But I definitely say if you have the book now, it’s well worth the read! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t have the book yet, but I wanted to get it. I might order once it gets closer to Halloween as that’d probably be the time to read it!


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