Latest Read: Wild by Alex Mallory

Wild by Alex Mallory
Publication date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received from publisher via Edelweiss (Thanks!)
Summary: 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, handsome and might be following her. Intrigued, Dara seeks him out and sets a catastrophe in motion. Thrust back into society, Cade struggles with the realization that the life he knew was a lie. But he’s not the only one. Trying to explain life in a normal town leaves Dara questioning it. As the media swarm and the police close in, Dara and Cade risk everything to get closer. But will the truth about Cade’s past tear them apart? (Adapted

My Thoughts
Wild is supposed to be a modern Tarzan retelling and that’s what drew me to the book initially. Cade has been living in solitary and civilization-free in the wilderness for almost his entire life. All he remembers is living in the forest with his parents who said they were the last remaining survivors of an pandemic virus which took out the rest of the world. He grew up hearing these scientific horror stories, hunting, surviving and hiding from forest rangers. He doesn’t know any other life or anyone else to tell him otherwise. Eventually his parents die (from natural causes?) and it’s just Cade living the way he always has. Until he sees a couple, Dara and Josh, camping. They discover each other — specifically Cade and Dara — and through a series of events, Cade finds himself back in society and under its very harsh scrutiny. What I think could’ve been a compelling tale fell flat as it required too much suspension of disbelief.

I think I would’ve been able to buy into Cade’s tale more if he grew up in the middle of a South American tropical rainforest or somewhere equally remote. Instead he was in a public camping site in the midwest, about an hour away from a town. I find it hard to believe that he and his family were able to hide themselves for as long as they did without getting caught and without ever seeing regular people (in other words, not forest rangers). Cade himself is fairly likable though. He reacts the way I’d expect someone in his position would. Attraction to the first girl he sees, wariness of the outside world, his parents’ voices in his head warning of him the dangers of leaving their forest and not knowing where he fits anymore. But no one else in the book particularly stood out or I just flat-out didn’t like them.

Like this whole primitive boy thing. He’s not really that primitive. He’s smart, he can read and his parents kept him very informed of the world (for the most part). They just told him that world didn’t exist anymore. I didn’t understand why everyone, aside from Dara and her best friend, were treating him like a criminal. Including the police. It didn’t make any sense to me. Then part of the mystery was discovering his real identity which was investigated throughout the entire book. I didn’t understand why they didn’t take a DNA sample from him on day one to figure that out. It just seems like too much was focused on things that weren’t well-explained or logical instead of Cade’s personal and emotional readjustment to civilization. I found those parts more interesting. Even his growing relationship with Dara (which was too insta-lovey) could’ve been better explored. There was definitely potential but again, we were just expected to accept and root for their connection and the extreme measures they take to be together.

Do I recommend?
Sadly, I don’t. I read something similar recently (Searching for Sky) which also explored how someone who has lived in seclusion assimilates back into society and I think that was better done. As much as I wanted to like Wild, it just dragged on for too long and didn’t come across as believable.

Collaborative feature with Alexa! 

Have you ever gone camping? And if not, do you want to?
I've never been camping and I can't say that I want to. I mean, the cold hard ground? The bugs? No thanks! But if camping involved sleeping in a cabin or an RV/trailer of some sort - that I can do. The only time I've considered camping is whenever I look up festivals like Coachella or Bonnaroo. It seems like so much fun! To go with friends, fall asleep to the sound of music. But again, I'd only do this kind of camping if it involves sleeping in an RV and on an actual bed. Yeah, I'd definitely be up for that!

1 comment

  1. I really wanted this one to be likable! It was definitely an interesting perspective on the whole Tarzan thing, but I feel sad that it just wound up not working for us both. As for camping, well, I've always wanted to do it! Even with the cold hard ground and bugs and all.


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