Saturday, October 25, 2014

Wildlife by Fiona Wood

Synopsis: "Life? It’s simple: be true to yourself.
The tricky part is finding out exactly who you are…

In the holidays before the dreaded term at Crowthorne Grammar’s outdoor education camp two things out of the ordinary happened.
A picture of me was plastered all over a twenty-metre billboard.
And I kissed Ben Capaldi.

Boarding for a term in the wilderness, sixteen-year-old Sibylla expects the gruesome outdoor education program – but friendship complications, and love that goes wrong? They’re extra-curricula.

Enter Lou from Six Impossible Things – the reluctant new girl for this term in the great outdoors. Fragile behind an implacable mask, she is grieving a death that occurred almost a year ago. Despite herself, Lou becomes intrigued by the unfolding drama between her housemates Sibylla and Holly, and has to decide whether to end her self-imposed detachment and join the fray.

And as Sibylla confronts a tangle of betrayal, she needs to renegotiate everything she thought she knew about surviving in the wild.

A story about first love, friendship and NOT fitting in."

Title: Wildlife
Genre: Contemporary YA
Series: None
Pages: 385
Ages: 15+
My Rating: 4 stars
One Word: Relatable
Fave Quote:
"'Who the hell do you think you are?' Beeso said as he walked off. 'You're not even hot.'
It's a fair question, minus the gratuitous insult.
I am really sick of the people who need to tell me I'm unattractive. Somehow they feel duty-bound to put me down because I've been in that stupid advertisement. Surely my neon 'self-esteem/appearance' sign is still visibly flickering on 'below average.' Nothing has changed there.
Q: And who the hell do I think I am?
A: I have no idea" (304).

This books was unlike any other book I've read, mainly because it portrayed teenagers in a different light, a real light. All of these other YA books make the main character seem flawless in beauty, but have "damage" on the inside, when that is mostly not true. Really, teenagers are not flawless on the outside. Some are damaged from past experiences, but can have really great personalities. These teenagers make up the majority, yet they are never noticed.

One of the main characters in this story, Sibylla, is like this. Throughout the book, she has trouble deciding if she should join the more acceptable crowd (AKA the popular crowd) or if she should stick to her own self, even if that makes her a little nerdy and goes against societal standards. She goes through a tough school term in the woods from dating the most popular guy in school, to dealing with her beotch of a friend, Holly (curse my name), and even making fun or her real friend Michael. Once she realizes her flaws and mistakes, she begins to accept herself.

The other main character, Lou, has an even worse school term. She is forced to go to this camp for a school term after her boyfriend passes away. If that's bad enough, Holly decides to pick at her and this boy without realizing that he's gone. At the end of this story, she also realizes her self-worth and the value of life, and that maybe her life can be less hellish as it has since her best friend/boyfriend died.

This book had a deep meaning and it was funny. The comedy aspect and the true meaning behind the story were intertwined throughout and made the book a lot more likeable. If a book were just funny, it would have no depth at all, and if a book were all meaningful, it would bore me to death. With that in mind, this book had the perfect amount of the two. It made me continue to read the book without even thinking of a deeper meaning until I finish and think back on it.

Not only was this book funny and meaningful, but it made me realize that my life doesn't suck nearly as badly. If I had to relate my life--and most teen girl's lives--to one of the two girls, it would be Sibylla, where she thinks she has a horrible life, but is oblivious to half the stuff going on in other's lives (i.e. Lou's). Teenagers are stuck in this little bubble called "school" where all 100 of their problems are involved with it and it's a huge deal if they, let's say, fail a test. Obviously, school is dependent on succeeding in life, but there is a whole other level of problems that some haven't experienced (Lou). Although girls like Sibylla's life is not that bad, they still have the major problems of listening to societal standards or being themselves, and I think that this problem is the major predicament of all teenagers.

Overall, Fiona Wood opened my eyes on the various levels of situations that teenagers have and gives a realistic story on how they overcome them. Just from the beginning, with the different writing styles between Lou and Sibylla, made me realize the broad two types of teens out there. For example, with Lou's problems going on, she seemed more detached from the real world and the disuse of quotation marks while someone was talking portrayed that. I'm grateful for reading this book and laughing at all the little embarrassing things Sibylla and Lou went through.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

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