ABOUT THE BOOK
Wildlife by Fiona Wood
young adult realistic contemporary published by Little, Brown on September 16th, 2014
second book in the Six Impossible Things companion trilogy
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.
Teenage is an age where everything’s happening at the same time for the first time. From hitting puberty to pulverizing heartbreaks, being a teenager is never easy. And then putting all these teenagers for a semester in a mountainous region, you’re bound to get a lot of fun, drama and realizations all rolled into a book called Wildlife. It’s contemplative, it’s beautiful, it’s something special.
Wildlife is told from Sibylla’s and Lou’s point of views which I usually love (I did have a bit of a problem differentiating between the two because of the lack of distinctions). Sibylla is a normal teenage girl with parents who have somewhat weird jobs, a younger sister who’s probably on her way to high school popularity and a best friend, Holly, who’s a mixture of selfish, overbearing, and I-am-better-than-you-can-ever-be attitude all rolled into one. Whereas Lou has two mothers, her boyfriend recently died which is why she’s been seeing a therapist twice a week, and her three best friends are off to Paris.
High school is a social ranking system hazard and it either rocks to be where you at or simply sucks. Holly wants to go from the unnoticeable to the elite and she uses Sib to achieve that. But that’s not it. Oh, it never is. While I can understand Sib’s inability to stop being a pushover, I could never understand the extent to which Holly goes. It’s just pathetic, mostly. Man, high school is a really harsh place to be sometimes.
Sibylla is one of those frustrating characters that you just want to shake some sense into. She started off okay but then she got on a billboard for a perfume ad, kissed one of the most popular guys in her grade, and her best friend made it her life goal to put them in a relationship. You see, such things never end well and it didn’t. Imagine a car swerving off the road and you know you just can’t do anything but watch; that’s how Sib’s side of the story sums up. And oh, there’s Michael, a very cool nerd who’s also Sib’s oldest friend.
Lou is my favorite character because she’s generally so blunt, unperturbed, and unaffected even though she’s going through some pretty hard stuff in her life. She’s coming to terms with the death of her boyfriend Fred, she observes more but talks less, and she never let Holly get under her skin. Sometimes I just wanted to give her a hug because she’s so vulnerable and I can only imagine just what she’s going through. It takes a special kind of something to be okay, really okay. Lou’s story is about that journey to okay.
In all, Wildlife is a story about a time of your life that you won’t ever forget because you learned something from it, you gained friends because of it, and you got to know yourself better. It’s a realistic and poignant story about two teenage girls. I liked it a lot but I wasn’t blown away by it.
‘It is just me who gets twisted into these tangles of my own construction?’
‘If I could breathe enough to scream right now, the sound would be gulped down in one mouthful by a black hole of disappointment.’
Danielle Cox says
Did you read Six Impossible Things? I think Lou and Fred are secondary characters in that. I love Australian YA, but with so many books on my TBR list I'm not sure when/if I'll get to these. Great review, Sana!