There are few things I like more than a boarding school book, and a boarding school book with an under-pining of toxic pandemics? Oooh, right? Well..kinda. I finally read Wilder Girls by Rory Power and it was…fine. A three star read for me. Interesting concept, interesting characters and set-up, but a kind of lacklust plot.
The Raxter Girls are toxic, or they have “the tox” and they’re quarantined on this island off the East Coast. Over the years–and our main characters, Hetty and Byatt have been there about three years total, 18 months under quarantine–the tox has taken their lives. Now, there are only a small group of girls left, their Headmistress, and one teacher. They all have shifts and jobs in the school, and when Hetty gets assigned to Boat Shift and gets to go beyond the gates, she learns that there are secrets that their adults have been keeping. After dumping poisoned food in the water, Hetty struggles to keep the secrets. Then Byatt gets taken away, and Hetty is determined to find out where she went, even if it means risking it for everyone. With dual POVs in parts, we the reader follows Byatt and Hetty’s path towards their final days with Raxter, whatever that might mean.
OKAY, so I liked the idea. And the book was FINE. But I wasn’t super enamored with it. The scene setting was great, but the plot was…eh. It seemed like Hetty lost her plot device at times–got off track–we only really saw a small snippet of life at Raxter before it blew up, and the Byatt scenes were interspersed so sparsely that it made it hard to connect it to the rest of the story. also…the ending. Eh.
Overall, this book was fine. I’ll definitely include it on lists of boarding school books, but I’m going to wait to pick up her next book and maybe get it from the library instead of Kramer.