[Audio Book] Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Everyone loses something to the Tox; Hetty lost her eye, Reese’s hand has changed, and Byatt just disappeared completely.

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put in quarantine. The Tox turned the students strange and savage, the teachers died off one by one. Cut off from the mainland, the girls don’t dare wander past the school’s fence where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure as the Tox takes; their bodies becoming sick and foreign, things bursting out of them, bits missing.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her best friend, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie in the wilderness past the fence. As she digs deeper, she learns disturbing truths about her school and what else is living on Raxter Island. And that the cure might not be a cure at all…

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Setting and Expectations

I’d heard a lot about this book before requesting the German copy on Netgalley. I nonetheless ended up listening to the English audio book instead for time reasons. Therefore, I might have been a little bit lost with the many new information at the story’s beginning. Nonetheless, I gradually fell for this created setting, which reminded me somewhat of Andrew Joseph White’s Hell Followed With Us but excluded the cult vibes. Instead, we find ourselves boarding school, which none of the girls will leave soon, as they are in quarantine. With the tox altering each of them to a certain degree, they rely on regularly incoming though scarce supplies and stay within their fences. At least until one of them—close to the protagonist—disappears. I foremost wanted to read the book because I heard it was queer and young adult horror, but I stayed for the hardcore friendship.


Secrets and Suspicion

I enjoyed the way the author introduced us to a certain set of characters, who would drive the story. We foremost follow Hetty’s perspective but later also stay with Byatt’s horrific experiences for a while. The Tox raises a lot of questions, and I had some answers before their reveal in the story. More importantly, I was surprised by many of the plot elements and the twists. Especially with Hetty’s new position and responsibilities, the story took an intriguing turn. I wished nonetheless we could have gotten to know some of the other characters better. At least, we learned a lot about and witnessed many striking moments with Reese and Julia.


Source to the fanart of Hetty


Love and Horror

The book features a lot of horror elements but rarely features body horror which I would have expected a bit more. I enjoyed the snippets we’ve got, nonetheless. Especially the transformation the girls underwent due to the Tox intrigued me. Without spoiling anything, I was also interested in the scientific work on the Tox and the storyline surrounding that.

The Tox apparently also not only altered the girls but other beings and created dangerous hunters that the final scenes employ. The true danger to the characters nevertheless stems from a different source… At least, they have each other to get through this and fight for each other till the very end, which I enjoyed a lot. A little bit of romance is also never lost on me, although I disliked the ending for the isolationist part of it. I am not sure if there will be a second book but I would definitely read it!


In conclusion,

I was not disappointed by this book at all. Nonetheless, I would have enjoyed a bit more engagement with some of the horror elements. This book is foremost about friendship and youth’s endurance against all odds, and I appreciate it for that very reason. However, I don’t think it will be stuck in my head too long.



The author:

Rory Power grew up in New England, where she lives and works as a crime fiction editor and story consultant for TV adaptation. She received a Masters in Prose Fiction from the University of East Anglia and thinks fondly of her time there, partially because she learned a lot but mostly because there were a ton of bunnies on campus. Her debut novel Wilder Girls was an instant New York Times bestseller. Source

The speakers:

Eileen Stevens is an American actress based in New York City. Stevens‘ first major role in an amine series was Belladandy in Ah! My Goddess. In 2011, she was cast as the lead role of Iris in Pokémon Black & White. Stevens has also voiced several Yu-Gi-Oh! anime characters, including Leo, Luna and Sherry LeBlanc (5D’s; third season onwards), Tori Meadows (Zexal) and Sora Perse (Arc-V). Other than anime dubbing and theatre, Eileen has also done audiobooks and commercials. Source

A classically trained actress and multi-award winning narrator, Jesse [Vilinsky] has garnered recognition for her expertly voiced characters and ability to bring fort the strength and truth of their stories, deftly revealing the depth of each narrative she tells. Additionally, her facility and range with accents and dialects, as well as her youthful yet warm tones, have caught the eye, and ear, of many authors and publishers alike. Source

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