As soon as I saw this book I knew I had to have it. This picture doesn't really do it justice but the cover is absolutely beautiful. Caron Ellis's illustrations are quirky and whimsical, they alone sold me on the book.
Wildwood is delightful. It tells the story of Prue McKeel whose life is normal until her baby brother is stolen by a murder of crows and taken into The Impassable Wilderness, a dense forest that borders her town. In a mad rush Prue pursues the crows into the forest and bumps into Curtis, a seemingly ordinary twelve year old boy. They band together and venture into the forest to find Prue's brother and, in the process, fight an evil that threatens to kill all of those who dwell there.
This book reminded me a lot of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. The villain, Alexandra, is a statuesque woman, a manipulator who will stop a nothing to get what she wants. There's a scene in the first few chapters that reminded me of when Edmund meets The White Witch. Alexandra gives Curtis a hearty dinner to cloud his judgement so that he tells her all of his secrets. I was completely hooked at that point. It was also similar in that the children go to a place where ordinary people can not venture, a place where animals talk.
Other than that, it is its own story full of, surprisingly, a lot of death, daring fights, nail baiting escapes and moments of complete stillness. It's a tale that shows that we are truly stronger than we believe we are and that strength is not just shown through brute force but through sticking up for your friends and fighting for what you believe to be right.
I'd recommend this to anyone who has ventured into a forest or searched their wardrobe for a world that feels just beyond their reach.
Anjulie Te Pohe
Founder of Koru Mag | Mookychick contributor | Avid reader and writer of YA | Takatapui (Maori & bi/queer) | She/Them | Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org