“Hetty has watched Raxter Island transform from the idyllic home of her all-girls’ boarding school to the sobering setting of a mysterious and relentless illness—the Tox—that spares no one, including Hetty. The Tox changes Raxter girls’ bodies: it’s blinded one of Hetty’s eyes, turned her friend Reese’s hand silver, and given her friend Byatt a second spine. Quarantined on Raxter Island, Hetty and the surviving girls face Tox-infected animals and a dwindling food supply, waiting for a cure or an escape that just might never come.
The mysteries of the Tox make Wilder Girls compelling, and Rory Power makes wise structural choices that give the novel a page-turning pace. At times, though, the novel is held back by what Power leaves unsaid. While Hetty’s commitment to Reese and Byatt is clear, the reader is left filling in the blanks about where that deep commitment comes from. The novel’s end, too, feels premature, coming just when long-awaited answers seem to finally be arriving. Many readers will be left wanting more—and perhaps Power will provide it in a sequel, giving her characters and their setting additional well-deserved time on the page.
|Buy this Book