Review: Where the World Turns Wild

Published by Stripes Publishing Limited
Published on 6th February 2020
Cover Image: Kate Forrester

This is a heartachingly stunning, powerful and thought-provoking story set in a dystopian future where the majority of the human population has been forced to live like prisoners, trapped in Cities to avoid a deadly man-made disease capable of decimating humanity.  This disease was released by a group known as the Rewilders, who sought to fight back against the terrible damage that humans were causing to the environment. 

Outside the city, nature is given the opportunity to flourish unchecked and unhindered, growing wild whereas inside the City its re-generation is heavily controlled, and is failing, leading to hunger and anger, a combination that makes the leaders desperate …

Into this restrictive, threatening and controlling City, two innocent children –  Juniper and Bear – are sent, children with a natural immunity to the disease, a trait which sees them facing great danger and which forces them to escape from the City and into the Wild, seeking the family who thought they were sending them to safety with their Grandmother in the City …

Juniper and Bear escape the City with the help of a friend, and find themselves crossing the perilous Buffer Zone outside its walls.  So begins their long and desperate journey through the Wild in an attempt to be reunited with their parents … a journey which forces them to face their fears; which allows them to appreciate the beauty and terror in nature; which sees them being hunted; and, which leads to encounters with supportive friends and terrifying enemies surviving in the Wild.  I don’t want to elaborate any more on their journey through the Wild as I don’t want to give spoilers, but I will say that it had the power to keep me utterly gripped page after wonderful page.

The story-telling and world-building is absolutely superb.  I felt completely immersed and invested in this world; I was desperate to find out what happened next as I followed the action-packed plot; and, most of all, I adored Juniper and Bear …

These two children are beautifully and realistically portrayed, engendering strong feelings of sympathy in me and completely capturing my heart.  Neither 13-year-old Juniper Green nor her 6-year-old brother Bear, are able to cope with the strictures of life in the City and their separation from nature.  They feel ostracised and are painfully aware that they don’t fit in.  The way they are treated by most of their peers is heart-breaking, but there is also a sense of hope in the depiction of their relationships with a few others. Bear and Juniper clearly love each other deeply and this bond gives them the strength to endure when they are frightened, uncertain and desperate.  They look out for each other, both showing incredible courage, resourcefulness and determination in the face of incredible danger and risk.

The premise of this story is utterly fascinating, and rather terrifying.  There is so much potential for discussion around the moral dilemma, and consequences, in the decision that was taken by the Rewilders to unleash a disease that was intended to save the environment from human destruction, but also had devastating outcomes for humanity.  Of course, it also gives lots of opportunity to open up a discussion of what we can do now to respect, protect and nurture the environment.

This really is a must-read story:  it is gripping, moving and so relevant with wonderfully drawn, sympathetic protagonists, and, a plot that completely enthralled me.   

Thank you to NetGalley and Stripes Publishing/Little Tiger Group for an e-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

7 thoughts on “Review: Where the World Turns Wild

      1. I utterly adored it, so very wonderful, and so very powerful to consider the ethics of what happened, when is ‘for the greater good’ going too far, and when should ignorance be pushed back against with all might.

        Liked by 1 person

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