Ever since the release of «Wilder Girls» in July of last year, I’ve been constantly thinking about this book. The dystopian premise of a School for Girls on an island under quarantine due to unknown illness sounded VERY interesting to me [and it still does, even after finishing the book and seeing that it wasn’t quite what I expected]. After reading «The Grace Year» earlier this year, I expected from «Wilder Girls» something just as bizarre, weird, and utmost mind-blowing, especially since it was classified as Horror!
This was one of the books I picked for the Reading Rush this year, and while it read very quickly, I wasn’t as surprised by it as I was expecting to.
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.
The Raxter School for Girls has been isolated from the rest of the world since this unknown disease, called Tox, started to inflict people on the island. Teachers were the first to get ill, then it was time for the girls. Not everyone survived, but the ones who did are still struggling with Tox every single day. It deformed their bodies in strange ways and the disease constantly reminds of its presence by sudden flare-ups.
We follow two girls, two best friends – Hetty and Byatt, who do what they can to protect their inner circle and survive in the Raxter School for Girls. Reading the description of the book, I was so intrigued by the story that, as I mentioned before, I couldn’t get it out of my head for a full year, and finally purchased it this July.
While it had all elements I so desperately wanted, somehow it still didn’t convince me of the danger of this disease. I loved the concept. I loved writing and various dangerous situations Rory Power created. I loved how she didn’t try to cover up the ugliness and the horror of Tox.
However, the story lacked atmosphere what would have turned it into a true Horror. I felt very detached from everything that was happening to Hetty and Byatt (and other girls) so while I could appreciate all the above elements, I wasn’t attached enough to truly feel horrified.
Unfortunately, Hetty was a very underwhelming main character. I didn’t find anything interesting about her. In fact, her obsession with Byatt became annoying very quickly, and while I understand that they were friends, I’d love to see stronger traits in Hetty’s character, especially considering that she played such a huge role in the story. Not all female leads have to be badass but with everything she went through, I just wanted to see her less frantic and more determined at times.
In the beginning, we were told that Hetty had certain skills, things she was good at, but we’ve never actually seen her use those skills.
Now Byatt, on the other hand, was a very compelling character! The only problem was that she went missing too quickly! We do find out what happens to her and follow her part of the story, but I’d love to see her interacting with the girls from school as well. I think it would have been very fascinating.
I’ve already purchased the newest Rory Power book – «Burn Our Bodies Down», which I hope to read as soon as possible. There is definitely a lot of potentials for me to fall in love with Rory Power books in the future. I’m sad that didn’t happen with «Wilder Girls», but I’m really looking forward to what she publishes next!
Have you read any Rory Power books? Which one was your favorite? Let’s chat in the comments below!