The Wild by Owen Laukkanen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
There’s something about this book that makes me think I’ve read it before. We don’t get deep into main character Dawn’s history before she’s thrown into The Wild, a camp to rehabilitate young people into conforming with society’s standards. Dawn’s story is a familiar one….acting out and self-medicating as a way to cope with grief. Laukkanen handles introducing the secondary characters in the small wilderness group very well, developing some of them with complexity, but others are more like wallpaper in the background.
Dawn’s first instinct is to team up with the cute boys and pit herself against the counsellors but there are a lot of values that she’s forced to make a decision about. It’s very much a coming of age story and at the same time, it’s a tragedy unfolding. The mountain and the chase scenes get a bit confusing and long-winded but I’m not a mountain climber. I liked the descriptions of how the weather changes so much at different altitudes. I cringed and grimaced with every violent act so Laukkanen made the description very sensory and suspenseful.
My favourite part of this book though is the way that Laukkanen breaks the 4th wall over and over again to entice and manipulate and comfort the reader as we make our way towards the bitter end.
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