cover image Wilder Girls

Wilder Girls

Rory Power. Delacorte, $18.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-525-64558-0

Electric prose, compelling relationships, and visceral horror illuminate Power’s incisive debut about a group of young women under quarantine. A year and a half earlier, the Tox spread through Raxter Island off the coast of Maine, corrupting its inhabitants—flora and fauna alike. At the Raxter School for Girls, the Tox continues to mutate the students in cyclical flare-ups and has killed all the teachers but two. Now, the remaining girls, including friends Hetty, Byatt, and Reese, 16, survive on meager rations, adapt to alarming physical changes, and wait in radio silence for a promised cure. When Hetty is selected for Boat Shift, the only chance to venture beyond the school’s fences, she is exposed to secrets that tug at the seams of her understanding. And after Byatt disappears, Hetty sets into motion a series of events that will rend Raxter’s careful framework from its bones. Abrupt perspective shifts sometimes disrupt the action, and the finer details of the Tox are left a bit vague even as graphic violence permeates the fast-paced story. Still, the tale’s 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. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Daisy Parente, Lutyens & Rubinstein. (July) [/em]