The Wilderness of Girls (Hardcover)

The Wilderness of Girls By Madeline Claire Franklin Cover Image
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July/August 2024 Kids Indie Next List

“After finding four wild young women deep in the forest, Rhi begins to confront her own past in a story that masterfully blends reality with questionable fantasy. Confronting societal expectations of girlhood and exploring the meanings of family, this is a challenging and impactful read.”
— Matilda McNeely, Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, GA


An Indie Next Pick

An unflinching YA debut about a troubled teen who discovers a pack of feral girls in the woods and is swept up in the ensuing mystery: Are the Wild Girls of Happy Valley lost princesses from a faraway land, as they believe, or are they brainwashed victims of a deranged kidnapper?

In her ambitious debut perfect for fans of Sadie and The Hazel Wood, Madeline Claire Franklin crafts a gripping exploration of how the world teaches young girls to cage their wildness--and what happens when they claw themselves free.

After being placed in foster care, Rhi is hungry for a fresh start and begins working at the Happy Valley Wildlife Preserve. While in the woods, she stumbles upon a surreal sight: a pack of wolves guarding four feral and majestic girls. After Rhi gains their trust, they reveal that they're princesses from another land, raised by a magical prophet they call Mother--and they're convinced Rhi is their lost fifth sister.

Unsure what to believe, Rhi ushers the girls to civilization, where they're met with societal uproar and scrutiny, dubbed by the ravenous media and true crime junkies as "The Wild Girls of Happy Valley." Desperate to return to their kingdom, the girls look to Rhi for help. Rhi knows the girls are deluded, but at the same time she's drawn in by their boldness and authenticity--traits she is afraid she has lost within herself. And when Rhi witnesses strange phenomena she can't quite explain, the line between fantasy and reality grows blurry.

As the hunt for answers intensifies, Rhi must make a decision that will change the course of her lives and the lives of her Wild Girls forever.

About the Author

Madeline Claire Franklin is a graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults (VCFA WCYA). When she is not writing strange fiction for young adults, she is probably attempting to dismantle white supremacy and/or practicing witchcraft. She is a queer, Jewish, invisibly disabled woman living in sin in Buffalo, NY, with her partner, two dogs, three cats, and two Roombas, in a little yellow house called Cluckleberry Farms.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781638931003
ISBN-10: 1638931003
Publisher: Zando Young Readers
Publication Date: June 11th, 2024
Pages: 368
Language: English