ARC Review – Wildlife by Fiona Wood

20380942Title:  Wildlife

Author: Fiona Wood

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: During a semester in the wilderness, sixteen-year-old Sib expects the tough outdoor education program and the horrors of dorm life, but friendship drama and an unexpected romance with popular Ben Capaldi? That will take some navigating.

New girl Lou has zero interest in fitting in, or joining in. Still reeling from a loss that occurred almost a year ago, she just wants to be left alone. But as she witnesses a betrayal unfolding around Sib and her best friend Holly, Lou can’t help but be drawn back into the land of the living.

Huge thank you to Poppy/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and Netgalley for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

I adored Fiona Wood’s Six Impossible Things, but I think I may love Wildlife even more. Fiona Wood continues her trend of writing some beautifully flawed individuals and she does it with such an ample amount of humour, that is so easy to fall in love with her characters and stories.

First off, I want to quickly mention that this book references two of my favourite things: Daria and Melina Marchetta. Daria is one of my all time favourite television shows (seriously, I cn watch it over and over) and Melina Marchetta has written a good chunk of my favourite books, so kudos to Finoa Wood for her awesome references!

But seriously, I loved Sibylle and Lou. I loved Lou before, but I think having her attempt to come to terms with Fred’s death in this story may have made her my favourite of Wood’s characters. Lou is someone easy to sympathize with, yet she doesn’t want people’s pity or even acknowledgement, so when she is forced to share a house with five other girls, it’s no wonder she has no desire to connect with them — she’s so cut off from the rest of the world so it’s great to watch her grow through the story and take the small steps to come back to the real world, no matter how difficult it is. I’ve been in her shoes before, and let me tell you — Wood captures Lou’s mental state perfectly, and her journal entries really solidify who she thinks she is and who she might want to become.

Then there is Sibylle, who was adorkable and also really flawed. In her case, Sib has the problem that she’s not ready to let go of certain things — in particular her friendship with Holly, who is in fact, a crappy, malicious, manipulative individual. She’s so focused on trying to grow into her own skin and because she’s such a passive person, she allows Holly to control her in a lot of ways. It’s definitely not a healthy relationship, but I think many of us can relate to having a friend who we know is toxic and we need to find a way to remove ourselves from them, and Holly is a tough nut to get rid of! Sib is just wonderfully realistic and her emotions and breakdowns are something I think many of us out there have dealt with.

Even though I loved all the characters in this book (seriously, all of them, even that jerk, Ben), no one comes as close to being as horrific as Holly. Holly is such a memorable character because she’s an awful, crappy, evil person, and yet she too has flaws because she’s so oblivious to others and their feelings. She can be down right evil, but I can say. I’ve known people like her, and that’s why she worked as an antagonist for Sib and Lou in this story. She is someone you want to scream at and tell her to get over herself, but you recognize it’s easier said than done.

The prose in this book is always engaging, and I loved that this story was very sex positive. We need MORE of this in YA! I loved that Sib’s mom had a speech about sex, in particularly the ins and outs, the dos and don’ts, but most of all “sex is an important, but be safe about it.” Seriously, that bit was awesome! In fact, how sex as a topic is approached in this book is wonderful, and I loved it.

Seriously, this book is fantastic. It’s amazingly thoughtful and it breaths such wonderful characters who are unforgettable. I was so heartbroken when the story was finally over, because it meant I didn’t get to spend anymore time with Sib and Lou (and that Michael kid, he’s a cutie.)

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