Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Book Review: Wildlife by Fiona Wood

Pages: 384
Genre: Teenage Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Release Date: June 2013
Series: It isn't part of a series but one of the characters (Lou) is in another book called 'Six Impossible Things'
I got this for review.

Life? It’s simple: be true to yourself.
The tricky part is finding out exactly who you are…

In the holidays before the dreaded term at Crowthorne Grammar’s outdoor education camp two things out of the ordinary happened.
A picture of me was plastered all over a twenty-metre billboard.
And I kissed Ben Capaldi.

Boarding for a term in the wilderness, sixteen-year-old Sibylla expects the gruesome outdoor education program – but friendship complications, and love that goes wrong? They’re extra-curricula.

Enter Lou from Six Impossible Things – the reluctant new girl for this term in the great outdoors. Fragile behind an implacable mask, she is grieving a death that occurred almost a year ago. Despite herself, Lou becomes intrigued by the unfolding drama between her housemates Sibylla and Holly, and has to decide whether to end her self-imposed detachment and join the fray. 

And as Sibylla confronts a tangle of betrayal, she needs to renegotiate everything she thought she knew about surviving in the wild.

A story about first love, friendship and NOT fitting in.

This was one of those surprise review books that I just received, was kind of annoyed that I had another book on my To-be-read list that I didn't request, but read straight away because a really good author liked it and it says so on the front cover. The cover also drew me in (bright coloured socks) and the idea of reading another contemporary novel excited me since the last book I had read was a little bit morbid. I really liked the book and I'm so glad that the publisher decided to send it to me without asking first (because, I might have said, "no, sorry I have too many books to review and missed out on this).

I think this novel (especially with the bright purple socks on the cover) is the type of novel that many people may brand as "fluffy". While there aren't any dragons or vampire slayers, fluffy is something that this novel most certainly is not. Emotional yes, but not fluffy. This book tackles some "deep" issues and the characters fight some (metaphorical) demons of their own. In this book characters deal with death and loss, they find out what it means to be a good friend and they think about sex...

I thought the author of 'Wildlife' was very smart in the way she included information about sex in the book. If you were a mother and you wanted your teenage daughter to think seriously before taking "that" step, you would give them this book to read. The novel doesn't exactly push the reader away from the idea, but it makes you think a bit more about it. There's also a bit about peer pressure and sexual education which I always approve of in a teen novel.

This book is mostly about friendship. It's about making new friends, letting go of old ones and finding out who your real friends are. I liked how the author made it so that the reader and the character were almost on the same page at the beginning, so that it's almost like you have the revelation along with them. I think everyone will be able to relate to the toxic friendship that occurs in the novel and will like the drama that ensues.

I really liked the way characters were created and I enjoyed the alternating opinions of Lou and Sibylla. The one thing that really frustrated me with characters though was that I they weren't really described well. I knew what Ben looked like, what Lou looked like (however I didn't find out until the end of the book) and I new that Sibylla was pale. I thought Michael was a cool character and I hope that the author decides to include him in another book in the future.

The writing was my favourite aspect of the book and it really drew me in. This is one of those books that is just filled with so many quotes and expressions that were funny yet relatable. I felt like I could quote something from nearly every page (especially in the beginning). For example "Hey, at least we were older than  Romeo and Juliet"... I liked how the teenage "scene" was created and how Sibylla talks about the kids "discovering" older music like  David Bowie because I think that is pretty accurate with some teenagers.

I was a little disappointed with the ending because it didn't quite go where I wanted it to go. I think that the ending wasn't bad though and it certainly wasn't unrealistic. Really the ending they chose was probably the best one for each of those characters.

Overall, I think this novel is worth 5/5 stars. I'm not going to class it as a favourite because there were some parts of the novel that I don't necessarily want to re-live. I think this novel is a great depiction of teenage life and that there are some great messages that come across. I really liked the characters and I hope that the author uses some of these characters (but not Holly!) in another novel in the future.

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