Wilder Girls

Author: Rory Power

Published: July 9, 2019

Publisher: Delacorte Press  

Where I picked up my book:  Publisher (#partner) THANK YOU!

Key Words: feminist, mysterious illness, YA lit, survival

My Rating: 4

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My Thoughts: 

I really enjoyed this book! It checked so many boxes for me-a gripping story line, strong female friendships, feminism, queer feels, a beautiful cover (come on…we all judge a book by it’s cover sometimes and this one completely wrangled me in), an island under quarantine, and add in a plague-I’m sold!

First off, I don’t want to give too much away in this review. I went into the book kind of blind, and I think that made it that much more fantastic! So I’d avoid reading too many reviews and just go for it and get emerged in the story-I think you’ll enjoy it so much more that way! But just know-there are girls who get a plague called The Tox and the story continues on from there.

Secondly, this book revolves around female friendships and I’m ALWAYS here for that! These girls go to an all-girl school called the Raxter School for Girls and it brought up some fond memories for me. I also went to an all-girl high school and I could imagine the relationships and friendships (and possibly more than friendships, wink, wink) happening as if it was yesterday (side note: it was a longgggg time ago for me). We were a close-knit group of young women who walked through life, and the halls of our school,  in a do or die sort of way. Maybe all high school girls feel this way, but for us, it was legit. I would have done just about anything for the ladies I went to school with, so I could 100% relate and I loved every second of it!

Third, this story is so atmospheric that I could literally feel myself in the plot. I was walking in those woods, tasting the food, feeling the feels, angry at certain points, feeling lonely at other times and getting my game face on to prep for the future right along side these characters. I was completely immersed and that’s saying something for a 40 year old reading YA lit.

The only problem (and by problem, I mean slight annoyance) I had with this book was the ending. Apparently, I like a final conclusion and you won’t find that here. BUT it also allows the reader to surmise and let their imagination run a bit wild and alas…isn’t that the point of good fiction?!

All in all, I really enjoyed this unique book and I’m excited to see what else Power has in store for us. Wilder Girls is full of female friendships and female empowerment. It’s a dark book, but uplifting at the same time full of atmospheric writing that is sure to put you right in the characters shoes. I will definitely be reading more of what Power releases out into the world.

Summary (via Goodreads):

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.

bookishfolk…read instead.

Beartown

Author: Fredrick Backman

Published: April 25, 2017

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Where I picked up my book: Library

Key Words: sports, contemporary fiction, trauma, community, family

My Rating: 4.5 stars

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Synopsis (via Simon & Schuster):

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY: LibraryReads BookBrowse Goodreads

“You’ll love this engrossing novel.” —People

The bestselling author of A Man Called Ove returns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever-encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.

My Thoughts:

Ohhhh man, I really enjoyed this one! It was one of those books that when it ended, I was left with a major book hangover (thankfully, Us Against You is out right now and I immediately put it on hold after finishing this one). Although the beginning was a little slow, or maybe it just took me a minute to get past all of the sports and hockey references, I just fell in love with the writing, the characters, the plot, the struggles, and the realness of it all quite quickly. I was an athlete growing up and always played team sports. As did my brother. And growing up in Buffalo, NY-hockey and the ice rinks were 75% of our life. Seriously…it snowed a lot and the ground was iced over A LOT in Buffalo. My dad used to make us an ice rink in the backyard every winter so we could skate and play hockey to our hearts delight. I have fond memories of my dad all bundled up in his heaviest gear, hosing the ice to get another thin layer built up in the middle of the night when the weather was at it’s coldest. It was magical-and I remember thinking it was magical then too. But anyways, I digress. So I was constantly surrounded by sports, athletes, and all of the personalities that come along with that. As I was reading Beartown, I saw so many similarities to what I lived growing up. Thankfully it was the good and bad, and a lot less of the ugly that we saw happening in this fictional town. I wasn’t involved in anything similar to what happens in the book, but unfortunately, it is no stretch of the imagination for me to picture it occuring. There are so many good things about sports and taking part in sports as a child (camaraderie, friendships, learning determination, sportsmanship, how to work together, etc.) but there are some not so great things too (severe competition, jealousy, favoring players for reasons besides their athletic abilities, coverups, the athletes coming before most everything else, sexism, etc.) and we see some of that ugliness in this book. My visceral reaction felt so, so real that I actually had to pause reading at one point. The writing is that good.

Overall, this book is about so much more than hockey-it’s about community, family, friendship, love, betrayal, anger, rage and so much more. The characters are well-defined, the writing is amazing and the story line is engrossing. I don’t want to give too much away, but I would highly recommend this book!

bookishfolk…read instead.