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Wild Hardcover – July 8, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Cade grew up among the trees and caves of Daniel Boone National Forest. Dara grew up in the Kentucky town of Makwa. When a Spring Break camping trip Dara takes with her boyfriend, Josh, turns terrifying, the world of the forest and the world of modern-day Kentucky are thrust together. Cade is forced out of the wilderness and must contend with the media circus forming around him. It may be more than he and Dara can bear. The plotting of this retelling of Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan of the Apes is smart and will keep readers interested in how Cade came to be in the woods by dropping clues about his mother's past throughout the narrative. The novel features some romance, but it is not overwrought nor does it override the mystery element. Some mentions of modern technologies such as Tumblr, Skype, and iPhones will date the novel, but they add to Cade's overwhelming lack of knowledge about the world he is suddenly a part of. A fine addition to any YA collection.—Paige Garrison, Aurora Central Public Library, CO
High in the trees of the Daniel Boone National Forest, Cade believes he is among the only survivors of a deadly pandemic. However, when two healthy teens blunder through the woods—his woods—he is no longer sure what to think, except that the girl is the most beautiful creature he has ever seen. Originally planned as a photographic adventure to bring them closer together, Dara and Josh’s secret camping trip derails fast, both emotionally and logistically. When the campers’ ineptitude gets them into trouble, Cade risks his life to save them and ends up in the hospital—and in civilization—for the first time in his life. Mystery surrounds the “Primitive Boy,” generating a media frenzy and police investigation to uncover his past. As Dara tries to help Cade transition to modern life, the two teens find themselves inexplicably drawn to each other. Told from multiple perspectives, Malloy’s contemporary spin on Tarzan is wrought with emotion and intrigue, making this an unlikely but enjoyable romance. Grades 8-11. --Julia Smith
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We’ll all heard of Tarzan, right? Or seen the movie at the very least? Now, how about a retelling? A boy that grew up in the forest (National Boone Park) believing that most other human beings were killed in a pandemic. A girl looking for something but quite can’t place her finger on. And you know the story of Tarzan from there, right?
The book was intriguing. It had a subtle thing going for it- like the wording didn’t have to be much but the storyline made up for it! All the characters were pretty well balanced. Dara was quite fun: Looking at the small things in life, and even mushrooms, rather than the plain old and boring big picture.
Cade, however was BRILLIANT! It was so honest, so pure- his understanding of civilisation, that is. His fascination with escalators, automatic doors, sea food from markets and even tablest. Let me show you how- when asked if he knew what a cell phone was, this was his reply:
“It plays music in your bag, and you cuss it until it stops. Then you hold it in front of your face and talk to yourself!” *Quotes subject to my ARC*
Wild was a fun book- one spot on with its synopsis! The ending was really good, too- the most realistic one it could be!
A Book I will definitely be recommending!
Admittedly, there are ways in which Mallory’s story was successful. But there were far more ways in which it didn’t quite work, at least for me.
Here are the things I liked about Wild:
Mallory’s spin on Tarzan, AKA Cade’s life in the wild – I’m not quite sure what I was expecting Cade’s life to be like. But I think Mallory did a decent job of setting his history against the backdrop of a life in the forest, secluded from humanity with only his parents for company. The ways they learned to survive and adapt were really fascinating. It did remind me a bit of Searching for Sky, because of the survival and adaptation to the real world elements.
The reason Cade grew up in the wild – I actually came up with a couple of theories, but the real reason he was hidden away with his parents? It’s really fascinating, and really believable. I mean, it’s obviously extreme, but once you learn what it is, it makes a lot of sense.
Dara’s photography – I do like that Dara’s major hobby was photography, and capturing moments and essences through her lens. I don’t profess to be an excellent photographer, but it’s always fun to try and capture the feeling of a particular experience.
Sofia, Dara’s BFF – Honestly, Sofia is probably my favorite character! She’s an excellent best friend to Dara, and ally for her and Cade. Plus, her sass, humor, bluntness and understanding made her A-OK in my book.
Here are the things that I didn’t like about Wild:
How Cade’s case was handled – This was a big issue for me, and I know it was the same for Rachel, too. It’s kind of hard to believe that the procedure involved in figuring out who Cade was did not involve a DNA sample of any sort right away. Investigations were grossly mishandled, especially in terms of tips too. I’m not sure if this was because it was set in a small town, but still, it felt wrong.
Dara’s family + Josh – Okay, seriously, I just did not like any of the other people in Dara’s life. Her parents are seriously not helpful to Cade or to Dara, nor do they even try to understand the connection they have. Her younger sister Lia also happens to be majorly pretentious and a bit of a bitch, though there was a moment that made me gain some serious respect for her. And Josh, well, I did feel a bit bad for him, but I also kind of hated that he was oblivious to things, too.
Dara – I was fascinated by her interest in photography, as mentioned. But sometimes, she did things that I just could not fathom. I get being “connected” to Cade after what happened, but to really go through all this crazy trouble (and trouble she knew she was walking into?). It’s a little nuts, if you ask me. Plus, I never really connected with her character or her troubles.
The romance – Oh boy. I can understand instant attraction between Dara and Cade. But to have them feel strongly romantic towards each other? That’s a little too fast, too much, too soon. Their rapport would have been nice if they’d just been friends first, or maybe friends all the way up until the very end. Speaking of…
The ending – Oh boy. The way things end here is a touch too extreme, if you ask me. I honestly couldn’t fathom why the situation called for such a dramatic conclusion!
Pacing – The way a story moves is really important, since it can’t be too fast or too slow. It jumped around a lot in this novel, from going pretty fast to slowing down a ton. I seriously couldn’t wrap my head around it, and kept getting knocked out of the story because of the pacing.
Here is what I’m fairly neutral about in Wild:
Cade – I just can’t bring myself to actually dislike Cade. I could really understand his reactions and emotions, especially considering he’s lived such a sheltered life since he was little! But I also found him hard to really connect with, since he’s definitely very closed off and detached. It was, admittedly, really cool to see all of his survival skills in action!
In sum, there are certainly things to appreciate about Wild. It had a lot of potential to be awesome, but ultimately, it just wound up not being my personal cup of tea.
As far as retellings go, this is one of the most imaginative ones I’ve read. I was really curious as to how the author would manage to create a modern-day Tarzan; Alex Mallory did such an amazing job!
Cade has lived all his life in the woods. That’s the only life he knows, when he rescues Dara from a bear attack, he’s suddenly brought back to the “real world”.
I think the most interesting part of all of this was seeing Cade be introduced to everything. Seeing him discover escalators, and how to use an iPhone was both curious and thought provoking. Cade lived all his life without these things, so how is it that now he has to know how to use them? I loved seeing him discover what he “was missing” all this time.
What’s most refreshing about this book is the fact that it doesn’t revolve around the romance. It’s about so much more than that. Dara & Cade are curious about each other, but that’s all it is. Their relationship progresses slowly but smoothly and I loved seeing it! It was a slow burn and so cute! :3
This book was written in third person and yet it was so easy to connect to all the characters. I understood Dara and her love for photography, Cade and his confusion as to why his life was so “controversial”; I even understood Dara’s parents and why they didn’t seem to trust Cade at first.
This book also has wonderful family dynamics and I loved seeing Dara’s family interacting with Cade! It was so funny and awkward. No one knew how to react to this “wilderness boy” and it was so entertaining.
I think my only complaint is that sometimes there were some unnecessary parts. The story felt too long, and I guess some parts could’ve been cut out because they didn’t contribute much to the story.
Nevertheless, I had a really great love for the ending! It was open ended, but resolved. I don’t know how to explain it! I felt like I already knew what happened with the story even if we weren’t explicitly told.
Overall this is a modern retelling that you should definitely read. Alex Mallory does a great job at bringing one of my favourite Disney movies to a book.
Rating: 4.5 stars
A review copy was provided by the Publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Most recent customer reviews
This book was awesome!
I'm Soooo happy to have read it but Soooo sad to see it finish...Read more
[More of my reviews are available on my blog, Geeky Reading, to which there's a link on my profile.]
I love this book.Read more
"Yes. It plays music in your bag, and you
cuss until it stops.Read more