Book Talk: Wildlife by Fiona Wood

Book Talk: Wildlife by Fiona WoodWildlife by Fiona Wood
Published by Poppy on September 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: BEA

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!




Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”



Wildlife is told from the perspective of two girls who are doing a required semester at an outdoors camp. Sib gets a little boost of popularity as she gets her face on a billboard (as well as some scrutiny) right before she comes leave for this semester and finds herself in her first real relationship and navigating some choppy waters with her best friend Holly. Lou is a new student and is thrown into this experience not really knowing anybody and with a heavy amount of grief that is closing her off. She observes her new peers and starts to witness some unraveling in Sib and Holly’s friendship and also starts to feel more drawn in even though she wants to stay an outsider.

a2Another Aussie win! Also, I kind of want to go camping or something and get my outdoors on?


I really enjoyed this one!! I’m telling you…I keep waiting for the day that I won’t like an Aussie YA book and today was definitely not that day. Wildlife was just an altogether great read for this contemporary YA lover! Apparently this is a companion novel to Six Impossible Things but I haven’t read that and I wasn’t missing anything (especially since when it was talked about BEA there was no mention of the companion. I do want to read it and read more about Lou even knowing what we learned happened as this novel starts.

So here’s what I liked:

1. The setting : I loved the idea of this semester at an outdoors camp! It’s required so it’s interesting to see everyone adapting to the things they have to do — the chores they are assigned, having no technology, camping and hiking. They had to do this crazy solo hike and camp by themselves which scares the beejezus out of me because 1) obviously and 2) OMG THE WILDLIFE IN AUSTRALIA SCARES ME. I was waiting for her to be eaten alive by some snake or crazy spider. But overall I just loved the outdoors-y element to this and how it contributed to their growth and took a lot of them out of their comfort zone. It sounded like a really GOOD experience to build character and really LEARN about yourself in a different way — minus that solo hike where you camp by yourself in the Australian bush. I would never survive.

2. How it explored friendships: I love reading books about friendships because they are SO complex and honestly such a hard thing to navigate sometimes — especially as you are coming of age and really finding yourself. We see kind of early that Sib and Holly are pretty different in ways and their dynamic is interesting. Sib is just passive and lets Holly be a douche and walk all over her. At first you are like ehh Holly sucks and is kind of mean but then you suddenly are like okay is this toxic? It feels toxic right? I love that it explored how hard it is to be honest with yourself about a friendship that has kind of turned into something not so good — how Sib tries to reconcile the good vs. bad and the memories of Holly and has to decide if the friendship can be salvaged or if, as we grow, that sometimes we have to let people go. But even outside of Holly and Sib there were some other relationships that I enjoyed watching grow and mature! They all just seemed very realistic and had the kind of complexities and messiness I have experienced in my life.

3. The alternating chapters between Sib and Lou: I really liked Sib and watching her grow  and her perspective (maybe because I could identify a lot with her) but Lou was such an interesting character too. She’s a new student and she’s out here with no friends and, not only that, she’s grieving so deeply which makes her even more lonely. Her perspective is truly as an outsider and I loved watching her observe Sib and Holly and everything going down at camp as she keeps her distance but also gets drawn into it all and starts to make connections and open herself up to start to figure out who is after this tragedy.


factors+ writing, characters, themes explored, setting

Re-readability: Maybe!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I want one!

a5fans of Aussie YA, contemporary YA readers, people who like boarding school/camp settings, people who like books that explore friendships

a8Wildlife was just a really damn good character-driven story — interesting characters, great setting, thought-provoking and incredibly well written. I loved watching Sib start to, through the outdoor experience and relationship issues, start to really grow and learn more about herself. It was nice to watch her be less PASSIVE and start to learn to be more independent. I loved watching Lou grow from this experience to — to confront her grief and to open up a little bit rather than keep herself so closed off.

review-on-post-itWildlife by Fiona Wood


a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
I’m curious if any of you have read Six Impossible things!


The Perpetual Page-Turner


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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I’ve read this and liked it, but loved Six Impossible Things, which you should TOTALLY read. It’s fun, funny, heartwarming, surprising and even though it’s on the lower YA spectrum, still very relatable. So, YES. I recommend it.

    I say…GO REQUEST IT:

    • Oh my gosh I didn’t even realize they were going to publish it here! Doesn’t that seem backwards to do Wildlife first and then this one?? lol. I’m DEFINITELY going to be reading it. It’s been on my TBR for a while. So can you explain to me the timeline or is that spoilery? I’m guessing SIT is Lou BEFORE Wildlife?

      • Totally backwards. I don’t know why they decided to do that if both were going to be published and within months of each other. Sure! Lou is a secondary character in SIT. You know Dan who was mentioned in Wildlife? Well, SIT is his book. Once you start reading, you’ll see the crossover. Enjoy!

  2. This one sounds really good! I would totally die at an outdoors camp. Camping for a night by myself??? No thank you. Spiders? Nope. Snakes? Nope. But I definitely think it would make for an interesting setting. And I do love reading about friendships and how people change and sometimes that means friendships change. I think it’s really realistic and relatable.

    • RIGHT?? I love the idea of this semester at this outdoors camp but I literally would never be able to handle a solo hike which required you to pitch a tent by yourself and sleep IN THE DARK BY YOURSELF. NOPE NOPE. I hope you get to this one!!

  3. Thanks for another book recommendation!

  4. I agree! I definitely loved the character-driven component, and I felt like each character was explored and developed really well. While there were a lot, I never felt overwhelmed, but rather liked that there were so many different people involved in the story.

  5. Sounds really great! I’m not a big camper but I like reading about camp settings and YA contemp is my new favorite genre. I just wish it was easier to get Aussie books over here! I’m glad more are getting published because the shipping is so expensive to order them from Australia. Will keep my eye out for Wildfire 🙂

  6. Loved the way you broke down your thoughts. Awesome review!

  7. What I love most about Wildlife is how it really portrays the very different, yet both very valid experience of two teens who are going through some tough stuff. Sib reconciling her thoughts on relationships (friendship and romance alike), Lou dealing with grief – it worked for me. I’m glad I gave this one another shot!