How will we survive this if we can’t survive each other? A Review of Wilder Girls

42505366It’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.

Holy shit.

This is probably the first true feminist horror I’ve read, and the first truly good YA horror, too.

I will say, if you are the SLIGHTEST bit squeamish, this book won’t really be for you. This is full of body horror, so. Keep that in mind.

I love how the girls’ sexuality isn’t at the forefront of the story. There’s casual mentions of girls having to “put their girlfriends down” due to the Tox taking over their minds. Hetty’s inner dialogue alludes to bisexuality, but either way. It’s so refreshing.

No one knows how or why the Tox took over the island, but it infects EVERYTHING. The landscape pretty much becomes something out of Annihilation. The girls become something…so otherworldly but also strangely beautiful? Byatt develops a second spine; Reese’s hair glows and she has a silver hand; and Hetty…she has something in her eye.

The mystery isn’t really why the Tox exists or where it came from. It’s why is the government trying to kill us even though we’re isolated? There are shipments of food, but almost everything is tampered with or spoiled.

Then, something goes wrong with Byatt’s flare up. Every girl has flare ups, but some come out stronger, while others collapse. It’s almost akin to a period, honestly. Anyway. Byatt’s flare up is vastly different than usual. Then she goes missing. Hetty needs her back.

While some elements of the story were a little predictable, it’s still the most beautiful horror story I’ve ever read. I give Wilder Girls 4.5 out of 5 Raxter Blues.

 

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