Saturday, July 5, 2014

ARC Review: Wild by Alex Mallory

Author: Alex Mallory
Publication: HarperTeen (July 8, 2014)

Description: Cade, a teen raised alone in the wilderness, is thrust into civilization in this modern retelling of Tarzan.

No one knows the forest better than Cade, who has spent his entire life there, foraging, hunting, and surviving. Raised to believe no one else is left in the world, he is shocked when he encounters Dara, a modern girl on a camping trip in his woods. And when an accident forces him back into society with her, he begins to question his entire life. Together, Cade and Dara attempt to handle their newfound celebrity as the media closes in. But the truth of Cade's past might be too much for either of them.

Alex Mallory's action-packed and romantic tale is told from both Cade's and Dara's point of view and is perfect for fans of contemporary and dystopian YA as well as classic survival stories such as HatchetLord of the Flies, and Tarzan.

My Thoughts: The story starts with a camping trip. Dara and Josh decide to spend the Spring Break of their senior year camping and hiking in the Daniel Boone National Forest.They have been together since they were Freshmen but have been steadily growing apart. They would be attending college in two different states in the Fall. This is their last chance to see if they can stay a couple. Things don't do well. Their camp foods are stolen by raccoons; the weather isn't very good. The tensions between them continue to grow as Dara takes bunches of photographs and Josh doesn't see the point. Dara is also sure that they are being watched and Josh dismisses her fears.

They are being watched. Cade has been observing them secretly. Cade has been raised in the forest. His parents brought him there as a small child. Now, both of his parents have passed away and he has been alone for about three years. He believes what his mother told him - that they are perhaps the only people left in the world and that any other survivors are probably sick and should be avoided.

Cade knows he should avoid other people but he is lonely and he is fascinated with Dara. When a bear invades Dara and Josh's campsite, Cade saves them but is gravely injured. Dara and Josh get him to a Ranger Station and he's helicoptered out into a world he doesn't know anything about.

Cade is both bewildered and terrified by the world he is dumped in. He wants to cling to Dara as the only thing that is familiar. But Dara's father is the County Sheriff and he doesn't believe Cade's story. He tries to keep the kids apart while he searches to find out if Cade is a runaway, a liar, or a terrorist.

This was an entertaining and thought-provoking story. As a modern retelling of Tarzan, it really shows the feelings and bewilderment someone raised outside of society would feel. While Cade knew all about survival in his wilderness environment, civilization offered all sorts of new challenges for him. Not least of all, the challenge of coming to understand that his mother had been lying to him about what was outside his wilderness.

The pressures of being the focus of a news frenzy that called him Primitive Boy added to the pressure for both Cade and Dara. Fans of survival stories and dystopias will be entertained by the intriguing novel.

Favorite Quote:
"I know you've been following me. I just want to know why."

That question was too hard to answer. Because he was curious. Because she was beautiful. He was lonely; she was there. He thought the world was mostly dead. She proved it wasn't. But he could hear his mother's voice in his head, sharp. Furious.

We're the only ones who are safe. The rest are sick.
I got this eARC from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

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