Bel Reviews: Fiona Wood's - "Wildlife"

wood_wildlifeWhen I was asked by Pan MacMillan Australia to review this book I thought, ‘why not?’

I didn’t really read too much into the background of the book, thinking it would colour my impressions, and apart from the duo of boot clad feet on the cover, and a comparison to John Green (whose books I haven’t read to date), I jumped in unaware of how charmingly disarming Fiona’s writing style is.

In the semi-tamed bushlands of a wilderness style campus of a boarding school in New South Wales, you will find a bunch of pampered, scared sixteen year old city kids about to lose themselves, only to find friendships, inner strength and the ability to camp on their own.

Sibylla finishes her school holidays by kissing the most desirable guy in the school, and now they’re going bush. She’s struggling to find her way in the uncharted waters of peer pressure and being true to herself. Lou and Michael are along for the ride, and though they are firmly land locked there isn’t a light house on earth that can steer the HMS Siby from disaster. Not even the advice of a life long friend can save her now.

Quite frankly I am not the camping type. Though I may hold tight to my brought up in the country ideals, there is a line I will not cross. BYO is for restaurants, not toileting habits. So reading about a place described as richly as this, allowed me to dip my toe into the water without the cold shock of the full on reality experience.

The emotions explored in amongst the eucalyptus trees is more than enough to tug at your heart strings and by golly if you don’t feel like punching Ben by week 2 I would like you to sign up to therapy because if that is your idea of a ‘healthy relationship’ you are waaaaaaay off (mumble mumble mumble mumble).

I thoroughly enjoyed the character arcs and I have a feeling I will be hunting down Fiona’s previous book, starring Lou, called Six Impossible Things, in the not too distant future. Lou’s a tough nut to crack but I’d like to see her when her guard is down. Perhaps it’s contained within that book or perhaps I will find it in future instalments.

However, it turns out I was thrilled to that I got to review Wildlife. A way to go bush from the warmth and safety of your favourite chair.


384 pages

Expected publication: June 1st 2013 by Pan Macmillan Australia

ISBN13 9781742612317

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