Cover Image: The Wild Ones

The Wild Ones

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Member Reviews

It has taken me awhile to write this review and I’m still not sure I have the language to describe what this story did to me. 

*This story comes with a whole host of trigger warnings. I’m not even going to list them out, just know if you have a TW it’s in here.* 

A group of teenage girls who have been abused and abandoned by the world find their purpose in helping out fellow broken women all over the world. Living freely and putting each other back together, they call themselves The Wild Ones. They find themselves in the middle of war when the boy who gave them their powers, the boy with stars in his eyes, needs their help. They rally together to save him and in turn themselves. 

The magic we see in this story is different than any I’ve seen before. It’s complex, but also feels very natural, much like our emotions. The characters are equally complex, which is what makes it so satisfying to get to watch their growth. We get a little backstory for each woman throughout, making you feel very invested in each one of them. The world building is absolutely beautiful. 

This story is the epitome of sisterhood and an anthem to survivors everywhere. I will not only be purchasing a copy for myself but for my friends that are survivors as well. 

Thank you, Nafiza Azad. Thank you also NetGalley for allowing me to read this arc!
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This book leaves me at a loss as to where I should start. 

The magic in the book is like none I’ve ever read. As though the magic could be wielded by anyone who has the ability to look into themselves and see they are magic. 

The sisterhood this book gives to survivors of pain and mistreatment.... Thank you to Nafiza Azad for writing it. My pain is within these pages and like the magic you wrote that girl from the past now has a star and she is too magic. 

The prose is beautiful. A lyrical poem of pain and redemption. The tiny note of romance, a redemptive love the greatest of Magic’s. 

I want nothing more than every young girl to read this and realize they are magic and no matter what walk of life they may come from, no matter the trials she may face, she can use her magic to be a Wild One. 

This book is peppered with triggers that may be hard for many readers. The author has written a note to this on goodreads and I recommend it being read cautiously. If read by someone young I feel their parent or trusted adult should read it with them to open communication to the many things touched in this book. 

5 stars all the way!
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Writing this is really painful because I had so many expectations from this book, but it's a DNF @ 35%

Almost one third into the book and only a baby step into the actual plot of the story. It was really confusing to keep track of all the characters and it seemed as if they were just going from city to city without any aim. At one point I just gave up because it got really tedious to read more. 

I wanted so much to love this book, but I couldn't even bring myself to read the entire thing.
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What a lyrical, magical, empowering book this is. The storytelling is inspiring and the story itself is captivating. A complex magic system, bright cast of characters, and a different universe than one we have ever seen. Azad’s prose reads like poetry and I want to recommend this book to every young person I know who has an open mind and an open heart. Just stunning.
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I don’t like writing negative reviews. I tend not to; I mark a book as DNF or read and then just…keep silent about it. Maybe I put a sentence or two about it in my monthly wrap-up posts, but that’s all.

But I really, really hate this book.

And I hate that I hate it. I’ve been looking forward to this book breathlessly, ever since the publishing deal was announced. It’s magical queer girls of colour!!! With stars and magic diamonds and sparkly clothes! It’s everything I could ask for! When I was approved for an arc, I ran into the study to tell my husband the good news, I was so excited and ecstatic.

Today, I can’t decide whether I want to cry or scream.

There’s nothing wrong with the premise/concept, the plot, or the characters. I didn’t finish the book, but the issues I saw dealt with were not mishandled. It’s nothing like that.

It’s just that the writing is abominably bad.

This is confusing for a number of reasons, not least of which is that this is not Azad’s debut, and that book, The Candle and the Flame, had perfectly pleasant prose. I didn’t enjoy the book, but not because it was bad; it and I just weren’t a good fit.

Whereas The Wild Ones is just…so bad.

The first 50 pages are telling, telling, telling. Nothing is shown to the reader; it’s a never-ending lecture about the Wild Ones and the Between and non-humans and all the rest of it. One loooong info-dump. The writing is blunt and choppy; there are attempts at pretty description, but it’s cringingly clunky, with sentences like this

<sweet, milky treats that taste a little like heaven if the place was a flavor.>

An editor should have cut the last six words of that sentence and it would have been fine. Look

<sweet, milky treats that taste a little like heaven.>

Done. Much better!

The book is written in first-person; unfortunately, aside from brief excerpts from ‘the book of memories’ which are titled with a character’s name, half the time it’s not at all clear whose head we’re in. Sometimes it’s Paheli, but then in the next chapter someone else seems to be talking – because they’re referring to Paheli in third-person now – but there’s nothing to tell you who the narration has switched to. Whoever they are, they speak like very young, bratty children

<I glare at Valentina and pretend I have all the answers. I am really good at pretending, in case you’re wondering.>

A few lines later,

<“We’ll find out more about this person later. All right?” stinky Valentina says, trying to make up for putting her foot in everyone’s mouth earlier.>

‘Stinky Valentina’? What are you, five??? This from a character who has supposedly lived for over 70 years?

A lack of contractions makes the dialogue clunky and strange; it’s like a constant itch in your brain, insisting that this is not how real people speak – unless it’s for effect, which is definitely not the case here. Unless the intent is to create this niggling sense of wrongness, make it all feel artificial and false? I’m not sure why someone would do that on purpose. But putting the contractions issue aside, still, the dialogue is just…it reads like an appallingly bad script. The conversation about ‘this person’ mentioned in the previous quote goes back and forth, contradicts itself, and then is dropped like it’s nothing, even though this issue should be incredibly important to these characters.

Moments that ought to be immensely powerful and poignant fall flat in a way that’s almost painful. The Wild Ones are a group of girls and women who have been hurt by men, now made functionally immortal by magic. Early in the book, there’s a scene where they come to the rescue of a mortal girl, in the process revealing to the reader one of their powers –

<We take a deep breath, and then all of us scream at the same time. The men fall to their knees, their hands around their ears. The lights in the festival flicker twice before returning to their original brightness. The men do not recover. They won’t. They will hear our screams in their dreams. The sound will haunt them. They will lose sleep. Their relationships will suffer. Perhaps they will lose their jobs and livelihoods.

The irony of having screams as weapons is not lost on us. Our screams work differently on humans and middle worlders. For humans, the effect is somewhat akin to having an excess of electricity in their brains. For middle worlders, a Wild One’s scream means being injected with more magic than their bodies can safely contain. The effect is the same.

“Let’s go,” Paheli says, and we heed her.>

Magic screams, coming from the mouths of wounded women, is a powerful, meaningful concept. But it’s described so…limply, here. I don’t feel anything, there’s no thrill, no urge to cheer, no awe at the beauty and power of the moment. And then we get another paragraph of telling again.

What’s extra frustrating is that, there are brief glimpses of great writing. One of the earliest excerpts from the book of memory – a book containing the backstories of the Wild Ones – is from one girl who had an affair with an older man, and in comparing herself to the man’s wife, she says

<I was the sin to be confessed on Sunday to a red-cheeked priest.

She would be flowers on afternoons, jewellery just because, and dinner out with decade-long friends.>

See? That’s great! That’s wonderful! Why can’t we have a whole book of that?

And the world-building is so weak. Magical creatures are just ‘not-humans’. ‘The not-human man’. ‘The not-human woman’. I mean – you couldn’t even come up with a word for them? Really?

All in all, this was a massive disappointment that has me wishing this idea had been born in the mind of a different writer, one who could do it justice.
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The file for this book was really difficult to read, but I guess that won't matter once its actually published lol.

I think this book definitely needs some trigger warnings. It's a heartbreaking and empowering story about women and their strength, which I love. But it's important to note that there is a lot of pain that you see the characters experience in this book and you should definitely be mindful of that going into the story.

Overall, however, I think this book was really well written and I love seeing books like this where women and our strength is at the forefront of the storytelling. I'm really looking forward to hopefully reading this book in print so that I won't be so distracted by the awkward formatting on the file that I received lol.

ALSO, the cover!!!!!!!! Omg, big props to the artist! It's amazing and so eye catching, and I can already imagine this book on my shelves. So pretty!
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A group of teenage girls, who the world broke and shattered, discover their true selves by empowering other woman. 
All with the help from the boy of stars- the one that gave them the power to move between worlds and persecute those that are evil.
Together, they must now aid the one that gave them their power, and protect him lest he fall- causing them to fall too. And they will not bow down or feel helpless ever again.

3 words to summarize this book.  Feminists written beautifully.
This book is gorgeous, written in almost a modern lyrical way that ropes you in and ties you to the storyteller.
Each girl has their own orgin story, the one where the world tore them down only for them to rise up from the ashes and show how powerful they could be.
It tells the harsh reality of the world, how women are ultimately seen as less and it BASHES it - it tells the readers just how powerful girls can be and just how strong woman are.
It empowers the reader to realize their own strengths and see just how fierce girls can be once they band together.

The characters are relatable. Strong without being emotionless, loving without it being the whole plot point. 
They are their own person, and they are PROUD of it. They’re fun and courageous, they are the very person you want to be.

Overall, if you’re wanting a book that’s so beautifully written that you get lost in it. A story where women are the one taking the world by storm and showing just what it means to be a girl. Then this is definitely the book for you.

(Thank you Netgalley and Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for the ARC in exchange of a review
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC! This starts out kind of slow, we build up to these amazing women of different backgrounds all working together toward a common goal. There are some triggers within this story, but I think it is beautifully written. The cover is also gorgeous!
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I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. This was a beautifully written book.  But it can be a bit of a hard read at times. All in All I really enjoyed it.
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Let me first mention how that cover is everything. I was hoping the story held up to my initial excitement and it did not disappoint. The story started out slow but as events began to unfold I found myself immersed and invested in the characters. This story features characters who are strong, who are the hero of their own story and learn to embrace love. They stand up for what is right and champion for other girls. They may start out as victims, but quickly flip the script. This story was everything I needed it to be. A crew of women working together despite their differences. I highly recommend everyone read it and I will be purchasing this when it is released. Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for the great read.
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What a beautifully written story! It has amazing characters and I am obsessed with the cover. This book should come with a trigger warning of some sort because the first chapter or beginning was hard to read.
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A beautifully, gorgeously written book that is fierce and full of stars. I was completely sucked into the story and fell completely in love with the characters.
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will not be reviewing this title.  there is no kindle option and the file is sloppy.  i’m sure the content is swell but i’m not going to scroll and scroll for days.
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Disclaimer: I got this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Trigger Warnings: Misogyny, child endangerment, human trafficking, abuse, rape (mention), bullying, grief, blood, violence, and victim's guilt.

This is an emotional and heartbreaking book. It's about a group of girls and the struggles they're going through. One of my favorite lines is: "Voices that will not be vanquished. Not now, not ever." I will go in-depth during my review for this on August 3rd. But, you should read this one!
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-`ˏ 4 stars ˎ´˗

“We have the temerity to be not just women, but women of color. Women with melanin in our skin and voices in our throats. Voices that will not be vanquished. Not now, not ever. We will not be silenced.”

Storyline : -`ˏ 10/10 ˎ´˗
Whores. Enabling men to conquer their bodies as an ultimate prize during a conquest. Scurrying around from bed to bed giving disregard to the countless broken hearts laid by a path of deceitful pleasure. Paheli’s mother was a whore. A profession she does not wish to follow. Paheli yearns for a better life, but all hope was shattered when her mother attempted to sell her to a man in exchange for a favor. Lost in disbelief, running without a destination, she comes across Taraana-a starry eye boy who handed her a box. . full of stars? Paheli was unaware that this would be the moment that would change her life and many other girls she encounters. 
*Then the story turns into semi-badass magical girls fighting to protect Taraana from dangerous villains wanting to destroy him for his powers. Um Yes! 
Characters : -`ˏ 8/10 ˎ´˗
The Wild Ones: Paheli, Widad, Daraja, Kamboja, Areum, Talei, Valentina, Etsuko, Sevda, Ghufran, and Ligaya. Sounds kind of overwhelming, doesn't it? I thought that initially, however, they move as one but they each have their own distinctive voice and characteristic. We obtain small glimpses of their past life in the “Book of Memories”, we learn of their origins and what led them to become part of the Wild Ones. Then there’s Taraana, why is he so freaking precious?! He's been through some difficult battles on his own and he just releases all your nurturing feelings, wanting to protect him at all costs.
Atmosphere : -`ˏ 8/10 ˎ´˗
The development of the world was interesting. We travel through doors from the human world to “the Between” a place of pure magic and creatures known as “middle worlders” that can take the form of humans. The magical elements were carefully crafted. One of the Wild One’s powers involved the use of their voices, the symbolism, absolutely amazing. 
Now for the hard part. . Nafiza Azad did not act in a restraining manner. There are a lot of topics involved that may be unpleasant for some people to read. Warnings: misogyny, child endangerment, abandonment, abduction, human trafficking, prostitution, abuse (physical, mental, emotional, verbal, sexual), rape(mention), infidelity, bullying(mention), suicide(mention), death(mention), grief, victim’s guilt, blood & violence. 
Language : -`ˏ 8/10 ˎ´˗
The style of writing is flowery and elliptical and may not be to everyone’s liking, but that’s what makes it great. It's a means to turn your past feelings of helplessness, frustration, and anger into something so strong and beautiful.
Enjoyment : -`ˏ 10/10 ˎ´˗
I may have cried once. .twice. .perhaps 12 times, but the story is not filled with sadness. The commentary among the girls was cute and entertaining. No matter where they go, their priority is food first (I connect with them on a spiritual level for their love of mangos). The romance was a mild but a nice addition.  Overall, this is not just a group of girls struggling with their own demons or trying to save the situation. This is a sisterhood, together they are braver than they can believe and stronger than they appear. I valued every aspect of this story.
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I received this book for an honest review

Wow, just wow feminist writing as best. I love how the writer wrote this. This is how writing should be!
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