Wilder girls / Rory Power.
Booklist Reviews 2019 May #1
*Starred Review* It's been a year and a half since the Raxter School for Girls was ravaged by the Tox, a sickness that crept in slowly through the woods before distorting the bodies of the teachers and students in vicious ways, leaving them wilted and blackened when it was finished. Left with the promise of a cure, the quarantined girls watch out for one another. That's precisely what Hetty is doing when her friend Byatt disappears, and together with her friend Reese, she breaks quarantine to penetrate the wild beyond the fence to find her. At the same time, they navigate their fragile, maybe even brittle, relationship that's strained by the complicated, desolate circumstances. Power's mesmerizing novel is touched with eerie moments of body horror—a stitched-up eye with something lurking underneath, a second protruding spine, animals growing three times their size. Those moments pale in comparison to the savagery of the Tox, however: It made them stick each other in the main hall during dinner, made them watch themselves bleed dry. Although the glimmer of a tangled backstory and foreshadowing device are left tantalizingly dangling, Hetty's fierce loyalty drives the story forward, and the alternating points of view between Hetty and Byatt reveal a rich, dynamic picture of the realities of living on Raxter Island. Power's evocative, haunting, and occasionally gruesome debut will challenge readers to ignore its bewitching presence. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.