Wild Blue Wonder – Carlie Sorosiak – HarperTeen – Published 26 June 2018
Ask anyone in Winship, Maine, and they’ll tell you the summer camp Quinn’s family owns is a magical place. Paper wishes hang from the ceiling. Blueberries grow in the dead of winter. According to local legend, a sea monster even lurks off the coast. Mostly, there’s just a feeling that something extraordinary could happen there.
Like Quinn falling in love with her best friend, Dylan.
After the accident, the magic drained from Quinn’s life. Now Dylan is gone, the camp is a lonely place, and Quinn knows it’s her fault.
But the new boy in town, Alexander, doesn’t see her as the monster she believes herself to be. As Quinn lets herself open up again, she begins to understand the truth about love, loss, and monsters—real and imagined.
Stunning and heart wrenching, Wild Blue Wonder is a beautifully written book. Right from the first chapter it is clear that Wild Blue Wonder is magical. Whether it springs from the legends that surround Quinn’s family campground complete with ancient forests and a lake monster or perhaps from the captivating writing style, everything about Wild Blue Wonder seems to glow.
Quinn Sawyer has always known her family’s campground, The Hundreds, was special. But recent events have shown her that even things that seem magical can be dangerous – deadly. Before, the camp was filled with laughter and sunshine. Now her siblings no longer speak to her. Before, water was Quinn’s haven. Now it holds the darkest secrets and the deepest hurts.
Wild Blue Wonder is written in alternating before and after sections. The after are written in first person, with Quinn narrating. It’s winter, The Hundreds is closed for the season, and Quinn is hiding – from her siblings, the town, her future, and her endless guilt. The before sections are written in second person, almost like letters Quinn is writing. In the before sections it is summer, all is well between Quinn and her siblings and the future is full of promise. At first, it’s not clear what happened to separate the before from the after. It’s not clear why Quinn would need to write letters remembering back just six months ago when everything was so different. It’s not clear why Quinn refers to herself as a monster. But as the story slowly unfolds the two different sections work together to fill in the answers to these questions, keeping the tension high, but also giving readers an in-depth understanding of both Quinn’s character and the events that have so dramatically changed her life.
Wild Blue Wonder is really, really beautifully written. Carlie Sorosiak so perfectly captures the magic of the setting, both in the frozen elegance of winter and the glorious lazy days of summer. And this then reflects the message of the story and Quinn’s journey. Similarly, the use of monsters reflects Quinn’s state of mind and processing. But don’t be mislead – Wild Blue Wonder is realistic fiction. Heartbreaking, honest, funny, a little romantic and plenty charming.
Friendship, family, and romance round out this story of grief and self-discovery. Quinn’s friends, both in the before and after, are a huge part of her world, and her growing friendship with Alexander, is very sweet. And he cooks! Quinn’s quirky family are awesome, especially Quinn’s Nanna, who is such a vital part of this story. Each part – Quinn’s friendships, her family relationships, her turmoutlous feelings – are all fleshed out in careful detail. Nothing is rushed or overlooked, giving Wild Blue Wonder a wonderful depth.
Wild Blue Wonder is utterly delightful and the perfect book for readers who enjoy touching YA contemporary about stories of resilience and grief.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Summer camps, death, grief, swimming, water, monsters, friendship, romance, family, guilt, reconciliation.
Reading age guide: Ages 13 and up.
Advisory: Sexual references, references to losing virginity and sexual relationships, no details. Infrequent coarse language, f*** (5), sh** (19), as***** (2), bit** (1), pi**(3), di** (2).
Published: 26 June 2018 by HarperTeen.
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 368 pages.