Release Date: March 20th 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books
Buy It: Book Depository
Fefa struggles with words. She has word blindness, or dyslexia, and the doctor says she will never read or write. Her mother has an idea gives Fefa a blank book. "Think of it as a garden," she says. Soon Fefa starts to sprinkle words across the pages of her wild book. And when her family is threatened, it is what Fefa has learned from her wild book that saves them.Maybe it's because I followed up reading The Wild Book with May B. by Caroline Rose Starr, another MG novel in verse about a girl struggling with dyslexia that I absolutely loved, but this novel didn't really live up to the potential. There were some lovely turns of phrase and images, but I found the story itself lacking. It was also this strange sort of book where it seemed too mature in language for its potential audience, but then too simplistic in style for older readers. I'm not really certain who the book is intended for, but despite my love of novels in verse, it apparently wasn't me.
At under 150 verse pages, The Wild Book is extremely short, and unfortunately that seemed like a detriment at times. Often, it came across as a good outline more than a complete book. Engle has some gorgeous images, but the story itself lacked vividness, it felt like it was a picture that hadn't been completely filled in. The historical setting in a lawless Cuba intrigued me, but I never quite felt like I really got to know it either. Overall, The Wild Book didn't quite work for me, but it's short enough that if it intrigues you it may be worth picking up a library copy to try.