Reviews /

Wild

Authored by Ele Fountain
Published by Pushkin Children's Books

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Wild is an original and intriguing story, set in the rainforest, concerning one boy’s journey to come to terms with a parental death.

Jack is not in a good place. He is finding it almost impossible to come to terms with his father’s premature passing and is slowly but surely falling in with some dodgy characters at school. Jack’s behaviour is of increasing concern to his friends, teachers and, particularly, his mother. Just as he is about to get into some serious trouble his mother suggests that he accompany her on a work trip. Surprisingly he accepts. Jack’s mother is an environmental anthropologist and the work involves travelling deep into the tropical rainforest. Jack is not prepared in the slightest for this new setting or for the dangers he is about to encounter.

When I started this book, I didn’t think I would enjoy it – another book for teens about an adolescent who can’t deal with the loss of a parent and goes off the rails – ho hum! However, reading on I was gradually drawn into the action and sympathising with the characters in an original take on a fairly common narrative plot. The rainforest setting is well imagined too. Jack’s experiences in the jungle gradually help him to emerge from the surly suppression of his feelings, as well as to realise that his actions can have a positive impact on his world.

Set in an area which feels very much like the Amazon, the story makes some pertinent points about illegal logging, and the precarious existence of indigenous peoples as a result. It also reinforces the value of friendship and the importance of listening to those with one’s best interests at heart.

An engaging and enjoyable read. Well worth having a copy in a KS3 school library.