Review: The Secret Wild

Written by Alex Evelyn
Illustrations by George Ermos
Published by Walker Books on 5th May

The Secret Wild is an exciting, action-paced eco-adventure, rooted in friendship and courage, that completely captivated me as I became enveloped in the wonder and mystery of this enchanting adventure.

10-year-old, plant-loving Fern Featherstone spends her time travelling all over the world with her botanist parents as they hunt for rare plants for medical research.  However, when her natural curiosity lands her in danger in the Amazon Rainforest, her parents decide to send her to stay with her uncle as they assume that she will be safer in London than going with them on their next trip … how wrong could they be?

On the flight to London, when a crate opens, a tiny plant rolls towards her.  It seems to understand her, so she decides to keep it:  surely no-one would miss one little plant?  She hides the plant from her eccentric, kind-hearted Uncle Ned, and names it Special.  Special isn’t the only unique plant in London, but the others are much larger and are taking over famous London landmarks.  Many believe this is the work of the Guerrilla Gardener, but who is the Gardener and what is their goal?

When Special becomes unwell, Fern is determined to seek a cure for her friend, and that involves finding out more about where Special has come from … so begins a brilliantly fast-paced, gripping adventure as Fern and her new friend, Woody, find themselves at the heart of an intriguing mystery … a mystery brimming with danger, tension and unexpected twists and turns.  Someone is intent on rewilding London, but will London survive the rewilding?

I really enjoyed the environmental message that was woven throughout the story where we are given a fascinating insight into the awe and wonder of plant life, and the importance of looking after our plants and trees, maintaining balance between humans and nature so that both can thrive. 

I really liked both Fern and Woody, who find a bond through their loneliness, despite their very different upbringings and interests.  Fern has been uprooted from her life travelling the world with her family, and has to navigate both friendship and settling in to a new life in London. Woody has also had upheaval in his life, and is finding it difficult to deal with these changes.  I really enjoyed the tentative and natural building of their friendship which felt really authentic.  They both face their fears and find the courage to stand up for what they believe in, and to help each other when desperately needed.  I just have to add that I absolutely adored eccentric Uncle Ned – a real knight in shining armour!

This is an exhilarating, heart-warming nature-inspired adventure that is sure to delight children of 9+.

Thank you to the Publisher and NetGalley for an e-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

3 thoughts on “Review: The Secret Wild

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