July 10, 2014

Wild - Alex Mallory

Wild - Alex Mallory book cover
Wild by Alex Mallory
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
Source/Format: Edelweiss (Thanks!) || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects my review.]

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 into society, Cade struggles with the realization that the life he knew was a lie. Trying to explain life in a normal town leaves Dara questioning it. As the media swarm and police close in, Dara and Cade risk everything to get closer. But will the truth about Cade's past tear them apart?

Oh, Wild. I really wanted to like this book, friends. Right off the bat, I was interested in seeing Mallory’s execution of this Tarzan-inspired tale. I mean, come on, what’s not interesting about a boy who grew up in the wild without any human interaction for years? 

Admittedly, there are ways in which Mallory’s story was successful. But there were far more ways in which it didn’t quite work, at least for me.

Here are the things I liked about Wild:
  • Mallory’s spin on Tarzan, AKA Cade’s life in the wild – I’m not quite sure what I was expecting Cade’s life to be like. But I think Mallory did a decent job of setting his history against the backdrop of a life in the forest, secluded from humanity with only his parents for company. The ways they learned to survive and adapt were really fascinating. It did remind me a bit of Searching for Sky, because of the survival and adaptation to the real world elements.
  • The reason Cade grew up in the wild – I actually came up with a couple of theories, but the real reason he was hidden away with his parents? It’s really fascinating, and really believable. I mean, it’s obviously extreme, but once you learn what it is, it makes a lot of sense.
  • Dara’s photography – I do like that Dara’s major hobby was photography, and capturing moments and essences through her lens. I don’t profess to be an excellent photographer, but it’s always fun to try and capture the feeling of a particular experience.
  • Sofia, Dara’s BFF – Honestly, Sofia is probably my favorite character! She’s an excellent best friend to Dara, and ally for her and Cade. Plus, her sass, humor, bluntness and understanding made her A-OK in my book.

Here are the things that I didn’t like about Wild:
  • How Cade’s case was handled – This was a big issue for me, and I know it was the same for Rachel, too. It’s kind of hard to believe that the procedure involved in figuring out who Cade was did not involve a DNA sample of any sort right away. Investigations were grossly mishandled, especially in terms of tips too. I’m not sure if this was because it was set in a small town, but still, it felt wrong. 
  • Dara’s family + Josh – Okay, seriously, I just did not like any of the other people in Dara’s life. Her parents are seriously not helpful to Cade or to Dara, nor do they even try to understand the connection they have. Her younger sister Lia also happens to be majorly pretentious and a bit of a bitch, though there was a moment that made me gain some serious respect for her. And Josh, well, I did feel a bit bad for him, but I also kind of hated that he was oblivious to things, too.
  • Dara – I was fascinated by her interest in photography, as mentioned. But sometimes, she did things that I just could not fathom. I get being “connected” to Cade after what happened, but to really go through all this crazy trouble (and trouble she knew she was walking into?). It’s a little nuts, if you ask me. Plus, I never really connected with her character or her troubles.
  • The romance – Oh boy. I can understand instant attraction between Dara and Cade. But to have them feel strongly romantic towards each other? That’s a little too fast, too much, too soon. Their rapport would have been nice if they’d just been friends first, or maybe friends all the way up until the very end. Speaking of…
  • The ending – Oh boy. The way things end here is a touch too extreme, if you ask me. I honestly couldn’t fathom why the situation called for such a dramatic conclusion!
  • Pacing – The way a story moves is really important, since it can’t be too fast or too slow. It jumped around a lot in this novel, from going pretty fast to slowing down a ton. I seriously couldn’t wrap my head around it, and kept getting knocked out of the story because of the pacing.

Here is what I’m fairly neutral about in Wild:
  • Cade – I just can’t bring myself to actually dislike Cade. I could really understand his reactions and emotions, especially considering he’s lived such a sheltered life since he was little! But I also found him hard to really connect with, since he’s definitely very closed off and detached. It was, admittedly, really cool to see all of his survival skills in action!
In sum, there are certainly things to appreciate about Wild. It had a lot of potential to be awesome, but ultimately, it just wound up not being my personal cup of tea.

Have you ever been camping? Do you want to go camping?

I’ve never legitimately been camping. My sisters and I did a little backyard camping when we were really young (and it was fun because there were hotdogs and marshmallows involved)! And when I got older, our high school had overnight camps in order to stargaze when I was a freshman. The last and closest thing I remember to actually camping? Staying in a lodge up in the mountains with my best friends for a sleepover. Even then, it was never really “roughing it” the way I imagine real camping would be! I would like to someday try it, though only for a night or two since I do like my creature comforts.


  1. Sorry you didn't like this one much. The idea of a re-imagined Tarzan is a pretty intriguing one, but it's a bummer that Wild fell flat. Thanks for the review!


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