Book Reviews

Review: Wild

Published by HarperTeen Genres: Contemporary, Retelling, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss

The forest is full of secrets, and no one understands that better than Cade. Foraging, hunting, surviving— that’s all he knows. Alone for years, Cade believes he’s the sole survivor. At least, until he catches a glimpse of a beautiful stranger…

Dara expected to find natural wonders when she set off for a spring break camping trip. Instead, she discovers a primitive boy— he’s stealthy and handsome and he might be following her. Intrigued, Dara seeks him out and sets a catastrophe in motion.

Thrust back into society, Cade struggles with the realization that the life he knew was a lie. But he’s not the only one. Trying to explain life in a normal town leaves Dara questioning it.

As the media swarm and the police close in, Dara and Cade risk everything to get closer. But will the truth about Cade’s past tear them apart?

A YA Tarzan retelling.

When I read it…

I read this between July 10th and August 7th.

What I’d heard before I read it:

Almost nothing. This is a 2014 release I requested but didn’t end up starting immediately and then have heard pretty much nothing about since.

What worked for me:

  • The premise: I really liked the idea of a modern day Tarzan retelling, and although it’s difficult to talk about too much without spoilers, I liked the way Mallory had set everything up.
  • Sofia: Dara’s best friend Sofia was fun, and sweet, and I liked the way she was always looking out for Dara.
  • Cade: I liked Cade, and his naivety regarding life outside the forest made me feel for him instantly.  I loved seeing his life in the forest, how competent and comfortable he was in the wild.
  • The forest setting: I really liked seeing the national park, both through Dara’s eyes and Cade’s.  The two see the forest so differently, and I really loved seeing the beauty, the danger, the usefulness, all as complementary facets.

What didn’t quite work for me:

  • The romance: I just found the romance way too much, way too soon, and it didn’t work for me at all.
  • The ending: While I enjoyed the story as it was going on, the ending was a real disappointment for me.  I have no idea what the best ending should have been – indeed, part of the reason I was so hooked was because I had no idea how it was going to end – but I just found the ending ultimately quite unbelievable and unsatisfying.
  • The justification for life in the wild: I liked the idea, but I felt like it needed a bit more back story to make it believable – while I could see one parent resorting to such extreme measures, I’m not sure I could see both agreeing to it, at least without seeing a little more of their lives and personalities before living in the wild.

I wanted to like Wild, but for me, this was definitely a case of the execution not living up to the premise.  I didn’t really like the vast majority of the characters, which probably explains a lot about why I didn’t like the book as much as I’d hoped to. I couldn’t understand Dara, who wasn’t spooked by someone stalking their camp.  I was irritated by Josh’s change from protective to basically absent. I was also frustrated by their overall relationship: despite having been in a long term relationship, Dara seems to feel their relationship is doomed and founded on very little in common.  I felt like the author was trying to discredit the relationship from the beginning, to make room for the potential romance between Cade and Dara, but that meant I either felt their relationship was implausible to start with, or that the rather abrupt change made no sense!

Other reviews of Wild: The Young Folks | The Daily Prophecy | There Were Books Involved

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1 thought on “Review: Wild

  1. I admit that I was curious about this one…until I read reviews for it. I remember reading The Daily Prophecy and There Were Books Involved specifically and after that I decided to pass on this. Reading your thoughts here just confirmed to me that I made the right call. I trust all of you and considering how you all agree here^^ it’s a no brainer for me.
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Harry Potter Moment #155My Profile

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