February 2, 2015

Wildlife - Fiona Wood

Wildlife Fiona Wood book cover
Wildlife by Fiona Wood
Series: Six Impossible Things/Wildlife #2 (Book 1: Six Impossible Things)
Publisher: Poppy
Publication Date: September 16, 2014
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library || Hardcover

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 love that gets complicated? 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.

In this tender, funny story of first love, good friendship, and going a little bit wild, Fiona Wood introduces two unforgettable girls who discover that before you can be true to yourself, you have to figure out exactly who you are.

I’ll be honest: I tried reading Wildlife once earlier this year and had to set it down because it just was not reading well for me at the time. But after seeing Hannah’s review, I knew I wanted to give it another chance. 

This is not a book for every reader. Wildlife has elements that make it sound universally appealing: a school that offers students a semester in the wilderness, a girl who deals with troubled friendships and romance, and another girl who is reeling with grief over a loss. Bear in mind, these things are certainly in the novel – but the way they are written might not work for most readers. The characters are really complicated individuals, each with their own personalities and problems. The plot meanders about, chronicling a journey through grief (Lou’s perspective) and the pleasures and pitfalls of being a teen (Sib’s perspective). There’s a whole lot of drama, some terrible life choices and so many relationships that felt inauthentic.

And yet, I liked Wildlife. It’s not the type of story I’d return to repeatedly, nor are the characters particular favorites. But it was easy enough to identify with parts of each girl’s experience – Lou’s grief over her loss, Sib’s easy slide into a relationship led mostly by physical attraction and a friend’s coaxing, Lou’s retreat into herself as she tries to figure out how to keep going, Sib’s learning what friendship should really be like and both girls learning how to stand up again on their own two feet. This personal connection is why I was so invested, in spite of the fact that there were certain characters I truly disliked and plots that made me want to smack someone in the face (multiple times). 

While I enjoyed the entire concept of a semester in the wilderness overall, connecting with Sib and Lou is what really made Wildlife a good reading experience in the end. Without that personal connection, I’m fairly certain I would have set it down a second time, unable to stomach all the drama that ensues. But understanding their motivations and their choices - it definitely helped make this story incredibly compelling on a personal level. If you’re at all intrigued, you should give Wildlife a shot.


  1. I haven[t heard anything about his book, but it sounds very. very interesting!

  2. I've been seeing this book pop up a bit in some Printz contender discussions. It's interesting to see that you really liked it while also really disliking parts. Might be one I'll have to consider picking up now!

  3. Hey I'm a new reader and I just wanted to say that I love your blog design. Can I ask who did it?

    Also, LOOK AT THIS BLOG COVER. Omg I would love to sink my teeth into this book, it looks pretty awesome!


    Little Moon Elephant

  4. I loved her YA -- When the Sea is Rising Red -- so I'm hoping I have time to try this one!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

  5. I think that MG really lends itself to darkness, if I think about the books I read when I was that age.

  6. Wow Alexa - thank you for reading our book and taking time to write such a beautiful and thoughtful review - thank you for seeing our deeper purpose to inspire young writers ( and readers of all ages!) everywhere - we hope you enjoy book 2 out in the US next year with more adventures for Tuesday, Baxterr and Vivienne - thank you again on behalf of Angelica Banks here in Tasmania - Heather

  7. Thanks so much for your thoughts Alexa! I've been drawn to this one and I've been hearing great things but it also doesn't seem like a book I'd usually pick up. But I trust your opinion completely and will definitely read =) I've been craving a book that has the power to break my heart.

  8. I loved Marge!! I really liked that this book showed all different types of options for the future - technical school, military, college.....each person had their own path and it worked for them. The story was just to timely and emotional. I really loved this one.

  9. Yay :D Awesome review Alexa. <3 I'm so glad you enjoyed this book. But aw. I want it so badly. Hmph. ONE DAY :D It sounds awesome. <3 Thank you for sharing your thoughts about it sweetie :)

  10. I so want to read this book!!! *-* I have ordered it so yeah, now I have to wait :'(

  11. While Skylar and Josh were clearly strong characters, I think it was the book's secondary characters that made the story for me. Heather Demetrios has a way with words that makes her novels hard to put down. Wonderful review! :)

  12. Danielle @ Love at First PageFebruary 10, 2015 at 5:39 PM

    Lovely review!!! This book means everything to me. I love it so much. Like you said, the characters are just fabulous (I love the secondary cast too). I wish I could have kept on reading it forever and ever.
    I hope one day we will be seeing what you write! That's awesome that you have that creative outlet. :)

  13. This looks so interesting! I absolutely love middle-grades and this sounds like such a charming one. Fantastic review, Alexa! :)


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