The Wild By Owen Laukkanen

Reviewer rating

Format reviewed: Audio
Ready by Kristen Sieh
6 hours and 30 minutes

The Wild by Owen Laukkanen

The Wild is a story about a seventeen year old named Dawn whose life is spinning out of control. Her father died, her mother remarried, she is emotionally upset, does drugs, and moves in with a drug dealer who is much older than her. Her parents stage an intervention by signing her up for a troubled teen wilderness camp called “Out of the Wild.” We have all heard stories of troubled youth who are shipped off by their parents to “tough love” programs.

Dawn is abducted in the middle of the night by camp staff and taken to a remote wilderness area. There she is given a tarp, food, and water and assigned to a group. The group is lead by two counselors who take a bunch of troubled teens on circuits through the wilderness. They hike all day in bad weather until they basically drop. If they are good then over time the teens might earn things like a backpack and a tent that make their life easier. It is a boot camp hell through bad weather, mud, etc. Everything is made worse by the fact that some of the other teens in Dawn’s group are borderline sociopaths. And things go downhill from there.

It was a little difficult for me to get into the book in the very beginning, but once Dawn was kidnapped the story moved at a fast pace. Dawn’s backstory is revealed as the story develops and at the time her situation in the wild comes into stack relief. Her character is well developed and as a reader I was rooting for her. The story seemed fairly believable until you are well into it, at which point I was caught up into it and belief had been suspended. In other words, if after reading the story you step back and think about it, there were aspects of the story that were improbable.

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