Cover image for Wilder girls
Title:
Wilder girls
ISBN:
9781982601973
Edition:
Unabridged.
Physical Description:
7 audio discs (9 hr.) : CD audio, digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Compact discs.
Genre:
Summary:
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. 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.
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Summary

Summary

A feminist Lord of the Flies about three best friends living in quarantine at their island boarding school and the lengths they go to uncover the truth of their confinement when one disappears, this fresh new debut is a mind-bending novel unlike anything you've read before.

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.


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. Agent: Daisy Parente, Lutyens & Rubinstein. (July)


Kirkus Review

When the institutions you trust fail you, what will you doand how will you handle the consequences? Two girls grapple with these questions in this gritty, lush debut chronicling psychological and environmental tipping points at a boarding school for girls on a remote island in the near future. Sixteen-year-old scholarship student Hetty was one of the first to show signs of the Tox. Over the last 18 months, she's watched it ravage her classmates and teachers as they wait, quarantined within school grounds, for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop and deliver a cure. The Tox affects everyone differently: Hetty's right eye sealed itself shut; her best friend, Byatt, grew a second, exterior spine; Reese has a sharp, silver-scaled left hand and glowing hair. Not everyone adapts to the Tox's cyclical flare-upsa girl brought to the infirmary rarely returns. The two remaining staff maintain tenuous order, but a flare-up that lands Byatt in the infirmarywith Hetty determined to protect herquickly escalates into events that irrevocably shape the fates of everyone left on the island. Power deftly weaves a chilling narrative that disrupts readers' expectations through an expertly crafted, slow-burn reveal of the deadly consequences of climate change. Most characters are assumed white; Julia is brown-skinned and Cat is cued as Chinese-American. Several significant characters, including Hetty, are queer.Part survival thriller, part post-apocalyptic romance, and part ecocritical feminist manifesto, a staggering gut punch of a book. (Dystopian. 12-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

It's been a year and a half since the Raxter School for Girls was ravaged by the Tox, a sickness that crept in slowly through the woods before distorting the bodies of the teachers and students in vicious ways, leaving them wilted and blackened when it was finished. Left with the promise of a cure, the quarantined girls watch out for one another. That's precisely what Hetty is doing when her friend Byatt disappears, and together with her friend Reese, she breaks quarantine to penetrate the wild beyond the fence to find her. At the same time, they navigate their fragile, maybe even brittle, relationship that's strained by the complicated, desolate circumstances. Power's mesmerizing novel is touched with eerie moments of body horror a stitched-up eye with something lurking underneath, a second protruding spine, animals growing three times their size. Those moments pale in comparison to the savagery of the Tox, however: ""It made them stick each other in the main hall during dinner, made them watch themselves bleed dry."" Although the glimmer of a tangled backstory and foreshadowing device are left tantalizingly dangling, Hetty's fierce loyalty drives the story forward, and the alternating points of view between Hetty and Byatt reveal a rich, dynamic picture of the realities of living on Raxter Island. Power's evocative, haunting, and occasionally gruesome debut will challenge readers to ignore its bewitching presence.--Mahjabeen Syed Copyright 2019 Booklist


Excerpts

Excerpts

Something. Way out in the white-dark. Between the trees, moving where the thickets swarm. You can see it from the roof, the way the brush bends around it as it rustles to the ocean. That size, it must be a coyote, one of the big ones hitting shoulder high. Teeth that fit like knives in the palm of my hand. I know because I found one once, the end of it just poking through the fence. Took it back and hid it under my bed. One more crash through the brush and then the stillness again. Across the roof deck Byatt lowers her gun, rests it on the railing. Road clear. I keep mine up, just in case, keep the sight raised to my left eye. My other eye's dead, gone dark in a flare-up. Lid fused shut, something growing underneath. 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. Through the sight, noon sun bleaching the world,     I can see the woods stretching out to the island's edge, the ocean beyond. Pines bristling thick like always, rising high above the house. Here and there, gaps where the oak and birch have shed their leaves, but most of the canopy is woven tight, needles stiff with frost. Only the radio antenna breaking through, useless now the signal's out. Up the road someone yells, and out of the trees, there's Boat Shift coming home. It's only a few who can make the trip, all the way across the island to where the Navy delivers rations and clothes at the pier the ferries used to come and go from. The rest of us stay behind the fence, pray they make it home safe. The tallest, Ms. Welch, stops at the gate and fumbles with the lock until at last, the gate swings open, and Boat Shift come stumbling in, cheeks red from the cold. All three of them back and all three of them bent under the weight of the cans and the meats and the sugar cubes. Welch turns to shut the gate behind her. Barely five years past the oldest of us, she's the youngest of the teachers. Before this she lived on our hall and looked the other way when somebody missed curfew. Now she counts us every morning to make sure nobody's died in the night. She waves to give the all clear, and Byatt waves back. I'm gate. Byatt's road. Sometimes we switch, but my eye doesn't do well looking far, so it never lasts. Either way I'm still a better shot than half the girls who could take my place. The last Boat girl steps under the porch and out of sight, and that's the end of our shift. Unload the rifles. Stick the casings in the box for the next girl. Slip one in your pocket, just in case. The roof slopes gently away from the flattop deck, third floor to second. From there we swing over the edge and through the open window into the house. It was harder in the skirts and socks we used to wear, something in us still telling us to keep our knees closed. That was a long time ago. Now, in our ragged jeans, there's nothing to mind. Byatt climbs in behind me, leaving another set of scuff marks on the window ledge. She pushes her hair over one shoulder. Straight, like mine, and a bright living brown. And clean. Even when there's no bread, there's always shampoo. "What'd you see?" she asks me. I shrug. "Nothing." Breakfast wasn't much, and I'm feeling the shake of hunger in my limbs. I know Byatt is too, so we're quick as we head downstairs for lunch, to the main floor, to the hall, with its big high ceilings. Scarred, tilting tables; a fireplace; and tall-backed couches, stuffing ripped out to burn for warmth. And us, full of us, humming and alive. There were about a hundred girls when it started, and twenty teachers. All together we filled both wings off the old house. These days we only need one. The Boat girls come banging through the front doors, letting their bags drop, and there's a scramble for the food. They send us cans, mostly, and sometimes packs of dried jerky. Barely ever anything fresh, never enough for everyone, and on an average day, meals are just Welch in the kitchen, unlocking the storage closet and parceling out the smallest rations you ever saw. But today's a delivery day, new supplies come home on the backs of the Boat Shift girls, and that means Welch and Headmistress keep their hands clean and let us fight for one thing each. Byatt and me, though, we don't have to fight. Reese is right by the door, and she drags a bag off to the side for us. If it were somebody else, people would mind, but it's Reese--left hand with its sharp, scaled fingers--so everyone keeps quiet. She was one of the last to get sick. I thought maybe  it had missed her, maybe she was safe, and then they started. The scales, each a shifting sort of silver, unfolding out of her skin like they were coming from inside. The same thing happened to one of the other girls in our year. They spread across her whole body and turned her blood cold until she wouldn't wake up, so we thought it was the end for Reese, and they took her upstairs, waited for it to kill her. But it didn't. One day she's holed up in the infirmary, and the next she's back again, her left hand a wild thing but still hers. Reese rips open the bag, and she lets me and Byatt root through it. My stomach clenching, spit thick around my tongue. Anything, I'd take anything. But we've got a bad one. Soap. Matches. A box of pens. A carton of bullets. And then, at the bottom, an orange--a real live orange, rot only starting to nip at the peel. We snatch. Reese's silver hand on my collar, heat roiling under the scales, but I throw her to the floor, shove my knee against the side of her face. Bear down, trap Byatt's neck between my shoulder and my forearm. One of them kicks; I don't know who. Clocks me in the back of the head and I'm careening onto the stairs, nose against the edge with a crack. Pain fizzing white. Around us, the other girls yelling, hemming in. Someone has my hair in her fist, tugging up, out. I twist, I bite where the tendons push against her skin, and she whines. My grip loosens. So does hers, and we scrabble away from each other. I shake the blood out of my eye. Reese is sprawled halfway up the staircase, the orange in her hand. She wins.   Excerpted from Wilder Girls by Rory Power All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.