Wild by Ele Fountain

Publishing May 2023 with Pushkin Press

I am not sure I have ever read a book so quickly. This book will have you racing to the end, through sheer determination to see Jack’s choices but also because it is relentless in its action. From Jack getting involved with the wrong crowd to boarding a plane to the rainforest, there is little time to sit back and relax.

Jack and his mum are grieving the death of his father and Jack is in the angry phase of grief, a swirling vortex of anger and lack of control. Doing wrong things seems to stop the intensity of emotion. Finding home life unbearable, Jack’s mum books them a trip, a work trip that Jack discovers too late. They are heading into the rainforest to warn nomadic people of the invaders, loggers intent on destroying their home and livelihood. Jack gets bitten by a bullet ant, his mum goes missing and they all get a bit too close to the dangerous loggers.

Ele weaves environmental issues into her stories so seamlessly and you are left wondering how you can help alongside the book hangover that inevitably follows the end of a brilliant story. This is a fascinating glimpse into the dangers of the rainforest, the intensity of grief and the damage it can cause to relationships.

I read this within a couple of hours, unable to part from Jack and his journey deep into the rainforest, where he learns respect, patience and control, not to mention understanding and a willingness to listen, share and remember.

Short chapters make this an ideal class book, with plenty of opportunities for discussions. I have yet to read a book from Ele Fountain that I didn’t love but this is certainly my favourite!

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