Book Review: Wilder Girls by Rory Power // hard to read, but even harder to put down

Title: Wilder Girls

Author: Rory Power

Published: July 19, 2019

Pages: 353

Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Mystery

Amazon / Barnes & Nobles / Goodreads


Reasons I read this book:

  • the Tox” and “quarantine
  • the pretty cover
  • the hype
  • ᵀᴴᴱ ᴴᵞᴾᴱ

It went like this:

After “the Tox” swept across an all-girls boarding school on a New England island, the grounds were put under quarantine. The girls and staff were left to fend for themselves as they waited restlessly for the government to produce a cure. Years passed with no breakthrough, forcing the survivors—mostly students—to forge a new culture in the wake of the isolation and ruin. Through the perspectives of three students, the readers witness the psychological effects of the new order.

Wilder Girls was called the female version of literary classic, The Lord of the Flies, which I thought was a fair comparison. Just like in the latter, Wilder Girls played out the scenario of “what if a select group was faced with fatal circumstances with little hope of aid”. Rory Power showed us again that while greed takes over in the absence of law, the fear of death is an even more potent motivator of action. I was stunned by the atrocities in this book, despite reading countless of reviews warning of the story’s gruesome nature. The descriptive and sometimes poetic writing style also added an extra layer of eeriness to the story.

Even though the gore made me want to put the book down at times, the mystery surrounding the Tox halted me from doing so. I wanted to know what was the Tox, how did the school’s culture deteriorate so swiftly, and why wasn’t the government doing more to help.

While the answers to those questions were revealed, I grew attached to the main characters Hetty, Reese, and Byatt. I liked how different each girl was and how they formed a spectrum of personalities, from meek to hostile, when put side by side:

  • Hetty, whose POV dominated most of the book, was shy, hesitant to do the wrong thing, and leaned heavily on Byatt for support.
  • Byatt, the apparent bridge between Hetty and Reese, retained a certain degree of her carefree demeanor from before the outbreak.
  • Finally, Reese, whose apathy for Hetty seemed to intensify after the outbreak, displayed a hard exterior to protect herself from getting hurt.

All of the girls had immense character development, but Hetty took first place in this area. This was probably because she had most of the spotlight, but I also thought she needed it the most 😅.

“We don’t get to choose what hurts us.”

The story kept me on edge as I desperately wanted the girls to come out of their situation, but had little clue as to how they possibly could. Meanwhile, the book made me doubtful as there were times where the characters put together parts of the mystery with little to no information. I really wanted to love the book, but those aforementioned segments of the story combined with some later random and unnecessary events made for a messy conclusion to the story.


Wilder Girls by Rory Power was a perturbing read about isolation, doubt, and survival. I’d recommend this book to fans of dystopians, female-female romance, and those who can stomach gore and violence.


i really liked it

Thanks for reading this far! Have you read Wilder Girls? Would you want to if you haven’t? Let me know 😁.

15 thoughts on “Book Review: Wilder Girls by Rory Power // hard to read, but even harder to put down

  1. Great review!! I completely agree about the poetic and beautiful writing adding to the sense of eeriness in this book 😊 The gory parts were hard to read for me too but I still didn’t want to put it down!! Although I felt similarly about the ending – it did feel a wee bit messy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review Belle! I’m glad you enjoyed Wilder Girls. I read an excerpt and decided to pass right now as I could kind of tell where the story was going. Hahaha arrogant of me right?! Later I read reviews that said the end was really disappointing and I was glad about my choice. It sounds like you didn’t dislike the open ending as much as others did. I wondered why? ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dani ♥️! Hahaha, I don’t think that’s arrogant, maybe just perceptive? 😂
Oh, I definitely didn’t like the open ending too much either hahaha. There were some plot-lines that should have been patched up better, especially for the book being a standalone. Leaving the ending so open to the reader’s imagination felt like a cop-out. Buuut, I also just really enjoyed the book up until the last moments. So, I guess this is one of those stories that I rated based on the journey and not the destination 🙂.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so happy you enjoyed this one. It’s had such mixed reviews and it’s one of my most anticipated books. I’m reading it next month and I can’t wait. I really don’t mind an open ending either – I know it drives some people mad but I think it really works sometimes. Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Open endings are truly a hit or miss, and luckily (I guess) Wilder Girls landed right in the middle of those marks haha. I really hope the book doesn’t disappoint you!
      Thank you, Melanie 😁.


  4. This has been my “bath book” for.. over a month now, I think? For some reason, I don’t have the urge to pick it up when taking a bath and start reading something else on my phone instead.. I guess that doesn’t bode well for the review I have to write, haha.

    I don’t know. I think the story and darkness I expected aren’t grabbing me like I expected they would? The gore you mentioned is doing close to nothing to me while reading. I didn’t even flinch and that’s saying something, haha. We’ll see! Maybe the next time I take a bath, I’ll suddenly fly through the rest of the book. Hopefully..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooo, I remember you mentioning this was your bath book in one of your posts. That sucks that this book is flopping for you. Maybe the bath is relaxing you too much 😂? I hope you can finish the book soon too—I’m curious to read that review!


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