Cover Image: The Wild Ones

The Wild Ones

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Member Reviews

The Wild Ones by Nafiza Azad is … different. I'm still trying to process all that I've read. It wasn't a hard read, but it wasn't easy either. We're introduced to 11 POVs throughout the fantasy. That's right! There are 11 POVs, all telling the same record. But at least it's a continuation with barely any interruption with side thoughts and missions. It took me a while, but how we're acquainted with each girl was essentially a page break of a journal entry hinting towards why they became a Wild One before diving back into the story.

With the premise of a "Wild One," I would at least thought we would have seen more tragic stories or at least the group trying to save other girls who were at their wit's end. Instead, we go on an Anthony Bourdain world food tour with them while trying to protect the boy who inadvertently gave them this newfound power to be a Wild One. It's not what I expected from the synopsis.

Once we got to the heart of the story, it made me realize how much fluff I had to trudge through to get here. It's basically a girl and a boy who aren't good with expressing emotions due to trauma, slowly falling for each other as they try to save their world and themselves from doom.

The story's execution didn't sit well with me, and there were way too many POVs and narrative switching. I understand the feminism message Azad placed all over the book about protecting women and their rights, but it was all too much. If we could take out all the flowery notes, the poetry, and the coterie of women, we might have had a decent story.

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Overall thoughts –
4☆ Stars
Cover - the cover might be the best cover of 2021 , its so beautiful that its worth of putting in the museum 😍 😌

Plot- the plot of the book was so unique ! Although it was little slow but it was good enough to keep me engaged in the story, the writing was really poetic and catchy from the starting!

Rep- there were so many south Asian characters and central Asians characters in the book which is really rare !

⚠️ Please Check the Trigger Warning before reading ! ⚠️

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I enjoyed reading this book which is about a group of teenage girls with special powers who try to save a boy that brought the magic. I enjoyed this unique story and the way the plot was structured. This book had a great world-building that was easy to understand and I just enjoyed the new setting. The writing was a little hard for me to get used to. I do have to say that the beginning was a little slow and hard to get into in the beginning but once you get into the flow of the author's writing, the story gets way more interesting. This book also has many different povs so be ready for it.

This book has many characters and I have to say that I love how diverse they all were. They each had their own character development and you got to learn more about them from their past life in this book. There wasn't really the main character in this book but that they were all main characters. Mostly for this book I enjoyed how the characters have something they went through and tried to achieve their fears to be stronger. The girls supported each other and I just loved the sisterly bond. There was some romance in this book but it wasn't really the main factor of the story.

The ending was well done and I have to say that this book was an emotional journey. So much happened in this book that it's hard to describe what has happened. It was that great! I did have some minor problems with this book but nothing super major. I recommend reading this book to fans of Blood Like Magic and How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe

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This was a book that I ended up not finishing due to lack of interest in content. For that reason I was unable to rate more than one star.

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The Wild Ones: 2.75/5 (rounded up)

Thank you NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing for providing me an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review

“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.”

The Wild Ones centers around the varying struggles that women face worldwide and the strength, support, and healing that others can provide. Long ago, Paheli was tossed a box of stars by a boy and was saved by magic from her mother, who tried to sell her to a man for a favor. She and her pack of girls who she has gathered call themselves the Wild Ones. The girls travel through The Between, rescuing others. That is until the boy who tossed the box of stars reappears and begs for help.

Writing & Plot:
I want to start by saying there is nothing wrong with the plot of this book. I enjoyed the concept and the characters. I think this book has so much potential, and I the idea is so important and beautiful and heartbreakingly joyful. I want to like The Wild Ones so much that I may have to try to reread it.

Where this book falls apart is the execution. Pieces of this book are written so beautifully, and after the prologue, I was hopeful that this would be five stars. The perspective then jumps between Paheli and some unnamed character or entity. I believe this perspective is intentionally vague to show the connectivity between The Wild Ones, but it yielded a frustrating reading experience. Furthermore, the flowery prose is juxtaposed with a choppy middle-grade-esc style of writing with childish humor and fourth wall breaks. The constant choppiness and repetitive nature take the reader completely out of the story and experience. I'm unsure why Nafiza Azad decided to use two different writing styles, but it makes the book difficult to follow and a challenge to get through.

Another writing issue I have is that instead of showing, Azad repeatedly tells the reader precisely what is happening. It feels like Azad doesn't trust the reader to come to their own conclusions and creates a vast disconnect between the writing and the reader. This becomes jarring when serious themes such as rape are being discussed in an almost childish way.

The structure of the book also provides challenges. The first 50 pages repeatedly describe what a Wild One is, and the majority of the book after is about them traveling to different places, exchanging currency, and eating food. It gets very repetitive.

One thing Azad does exceptionally well is she provides a vast array of different characters with different backgrounds. Overall, the character concepts are strong, and I can see the potential, but there is a problem when there are an overwhelming amount of characters. There are about 11 different Wild Ones and numerous side characters, and none of them get the development and background they deserve. It is so challenging to keep each character straight when none of them are fully developed. I almost wish there were fewer characters so each could get the time they deserve, and the reader could learn more about them because they're all so interesting.

I want to like this book. I want to love this book and have it be my favorite read of 2021. I think the concept is beautiful and has so much potential to empower girls from around the globe, not to mention that the cover art is stunning. I know some people enjoyed this book and believe it lived up to its full potential, and because of that, don't let my review taint you from at least trying to pick it up. I think this book deserves a chance, and I will probably give it another go in the future.

I wish the execution were more solid because this book can be one of the greats, but unfortunately, it let me down. I cannot get past the difficult nature of the multiple writing styles, lack of character development, and repetitive themes that span the entire novel.

Ultimately, solid concept, poor execution. Please let me know/DM me if you liked this book because I'd love to chat about it.

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3.75 stars rounded up to 4
The Wild Ones is a story with utterly gorgeous and lyrical writing and a stunning concept. Nafiza Azad’s stunning prose pulled me right in from the beginning. For the most part, I did enjoy this book. The Wild Ones is the story of a group of girls (the same name as the title), all of whom have suffered in some way. They have been betrayed, tortured, tormented and/or abused. And once the Wild Ones finds the girls, they are blessed to carry stars in their palms. They gain magic and become truly powerful. The magic system was complex, a little difficult to understand at first, but by the time you get into the book, it gets explained in its own way and through the beautiful prose.

This book can be described as beautiful and unique with its storytelling style. I did enjoy this kind of style, but not as much as I thought I would. My qualms lie in this; the chapters are told in two alternating perspectives; one is of Paheli, the other is another Wild One, who is not specified. I wish it was specified though; because I was having a hard time distinguishing between the character voices of Paheli and this unspecified Wild One.

The plot was also a little slow at the beginning, but things picked up around the 20% mark and after that the book was pretty fast paced. Another thing I did not really enjoy was how the book ended. There was a lot of build up to a certain event, and when the event took place, it got over a little too quickly. I would have liked to see more of that scene, since it was one of the most action packed moments of the book.

The Wild Ones feels like an experimental novel; it’s a story told in a style that might not be enjoyable to a lot of people but I certainly loved the style. But this story is something, I feel, everybody needs to read. It makes you feel; it makes you think about heavy topics and it makes your heart ache for the girls who go through so much pain. The Wild Ones, in some ways, is a story that I needed. It’s a fantasy but it’s grounded so much in reality, that it doesn’t even feel like a fantasy by the time you finish the book.

All in all, I think what I want to end by saying is; thank you to Nafiza Azad for writing this. This is one of those stories that will stay in my mind for a long time.

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The plot of the book is what initially drew me to The Wild Ones.

The Wild Ones began because of Paheli, a girl who was sold to a man by her mother. Paheli’s mother was a prostitute, and wanted to improve her standing in life by selling Paheli. When she finds out what her mother wants to do, she runs with no destination. She runs into Taraana, a boy that hands her a box with a star in it. This moment is the beginning of a glorious tale about powerful women who use their abilities to make the world a safer place for people, and to save girls from suffering the fate that so many of the Wild Ones did.

The storyline is fast paced and captivates you as The Wild Ones protect the vulnerable and go on a mission to save Taraana.


The writing was poetic, lyrical, and beautiful. It kind of made me feel like it was trying really hard to be quotable, and I am usually not a fan of that kind of writing in the books that I read. I have a few quotes that I really love (that will include at the end of this review!), but in general I feel like the stylistic writing affected the quality and clarity of the writing.

I feel like there was a lot of telling, not enough showing, and too many repetitive phrases that didn’t need to be included. It was also difficult for me to understand who was talking. Besides Paheli’s chapter’s, it was difficult to tell which of the Wild One’s was narrating. This made the story hard to follow at times, which was disappointing.

I think this might just be a personal issue; if you enjoy prose in your books, please don’t let the writing deter you from picking up this book!


I really liked the characters in this book! There are 11 girls that are part of the Wild Ones, and we learn about all of them throughout the course of the story. The character development in this story suffered a bit because there are so many characters to follow, but the lack of character development did not affect the story since The Wild Ones is very plot driven.

I love how The Wild Ones is like a family. The group is incredibly loving and supportive, and their dynamic definitely strengthens them when it comes to the action aspects of the story. All of the girls have unfortunate and heavy pasts that brought them to The Wild Ones, and they all find comfort in each other when it comes to coping with their histories.

I also love Taraana, the boy who gave Paheli the the star that saved her. I definitely have a soft spot for him. He has had a difficult past himself, but he is so pure and caring.

Magic System and World Building

I think the concept of the magic system in The Wild Ones was incredibly interesting, but the execution fell a little bit flat for me. The star that each Wild One has allows the

The world building is a little bit weak, in my opinion. The descriptions of the locations The Wild Ones travelled to were a bit vague, and I can’t exactly picture what the setting was supposed to be.

Main/Important Themes

The main themes in The Wild Ones were about what it means to be a woman, and the importance of women supporting one another. This book covers a plethora of issues that affect women such as sex trafficking, abuse, and misogyny. Other topics are mentioned such as suicide, murder, and assault.

Clearly, Nafiza Azad does not shy away from heavy topics in this book. Through the characters, Azad talks about a number of traumatic experiences that the characters have. What I appreciate most about The Wild Ones is that she explores these topics sensitively and realistically. She lets the characters feel anger and pain at what happened to them, allows everyone to heal in their own time and way, and shows how The Wild Ones really aids in the healing process.

My Feelings Overall:

The Wild Ones is a very important book, especially for women of color. We don’t see ourselves a whole lot in fantasy books (or books in general), and when we are represented, it is absolutely something to celebrate. This books is multidimensional and covers so many real issues in a way that is digestible for younger readers. While I do have a few issue with the world building and writing, I am overall very glad that I read this book!

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If I were to use one word to best describe this story then it would be hopeful. This is a story about a group of girls who refuse to let the world tell them who they should be.

This story begins with a girl named Paheli. A girl who wants nothing but to be loved by her mother and to feel safe in her home. When her mother betrays her, Paheli runs as fast as she can and bumps into a magical boy. The boy with stars in his eyes named Taraana tosses her a box of stars and disappears from her life for what feels like forever. Until the day he needs her help.

Since the day she last saw Taraana, Paheli has stayed busy. The stars that Taraana tossed to her give off magic of their own and are the key to a magical world named the Between. Using her newfound magic, Paheli uses the stars to find other girls who have suffered loss just like she has.

The girls that she finds have been beaten, abandoned, and torn apart by their surroundings. Paheli gives each person she finds hope again through the same magic that was given to her. She lets them have the choice to be someone they want to be. This is how the Wild Ones was formed. They’re a stunning group of girls who come together and bonded over their hardships. They live their lives protecting themselves and others just like them.

I’ll admit that this story was, at times, hard to understand. The writing style is one that I wasn’t familiar with and the poetic lines weren’t ones I could always fully grasp. There are a lot of characters in this story and getting to know each of them besides Paheli was difficult because we aren’t given the time to be acquainted with each of them. I’m not sure if this was done on purpose or not, but I can understand why some readers might be put off by this structure.

Paheli is the most prominent character in the story. She’s the easiest for readers to relate to. As for me, I really enjoyed her and everything her character stood for. She was brave and hopeful for a better world for herself and every girl. Paheli’s heart showed that this world could take away everything from you, but if you hold on to the little slice of hope that makes us human then you can change your future for the better.

I honestly loved all of the girls and their story even if it was hard to keep up. The plot jumps around a lot and there are memories shared from each girl that ultimately ties the entire story together. At the time of reading their memories, there are moments when it doesn’t always add up. However I don’t think that should take away from the fact that each girl represents a different struggle that someone has or is facing.

The Wild Ones are tasked with protecting and helping Taraana as he runs from a villain ready to destroy him. Seeing the strength the girls have on their own and especially when they were together melted my heart. The bond shared between them was unbreakable. It’s so awesome to see when they come together! For that alone, I think readers should give this book a chance.

There are a lot of elements of this book that I didn’t necessarily enjoy and the writing wasn’t a style I would prefer, but overall I did enjoy the story. The hope and empowerment especially for young girls of color is something special. If you’re a fan of poetry or fantasy then I think you should definitely pick 'The Wild Ones' up!

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The Wild Ones is a book about girls who are forgotten, cast aside, or betrayed by loved ones. The girls in the group are “saved” by the leader, Paheli. They must come together to protect Taarana, the boy who gave them their stars.

I really liked how this book melded fantasy (the Between, the stars) with reality (the mis-treatment of women around the world). I thought the premise was unique and the plot moved forward quickly.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book to review.

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Summary: The Wild Ones centers around a group of women called the Wild Ones, each with a painful history of trauma and violence. Paheli was the first survivor when her mother betrayed her and sold her to a man in exchange for a favor. When she escaped, a boy tossed her a box of stars and gave her access to magic that she then used to travel the world and help other women like herself. Now, Taraana, is in danger and as long as he is, the Wild Ones are as well. This book follows this headstrong and fearless group of women as they try to protect Taranna and by extension ensure that they are never forced to endure the hardships they have lived through again.

Review: I really loved the premise of this book. The Wild Ones are powerful women of color that support each other at every turn. They are the support system every woman wishes she had.

"Aren't you angry, sister? At being treated the we are? At having to pick up the pieces of what remains after the world is through with us? At being silenced and abused? At being denied our dignity, our bodies, our voices, and our right to justice? Aren't you angry?"

The truth is, I am angry and so many women I have known while growing up have been angry like I have. It's so validating to not only see this anger in The Wild Ones but to see it channeled towards something good rather than destructive.

With that said, I did find myself a bit distracted from their story by the way it was presented. The world building wasn't as developed as I would have liked and the narration was a tad disorienting. Regardless, this was a pleasure to read.

Thank you so much to Simon and Schuster and Netgalley for giving me this eARC!

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I love the concept of this story a bit more than I like the story that I actually read. It's still a good story - the writing is lovey and often evocative, the cities the girls visit are often lovingly described, the focus on food is quite nice as a way to establish the shifting settings. I think maybe I just wanted something slightly to the left of what I got when I read the description. That said, I did finish, not because I felt I had to, but because I did want to know what happened. This is a story about girls who have been harmed - trigger warnings apply - who are in control of their own lives using that control and magic to help someone else. There are grotesque bad guys and magic and a bit of romance.

Themes of abuse and assault, both sexual and not, child labor, human trafficking, hunger, and extreme poverty and more make this appropriate for readers with the maturity to handle such material. I say this not to discourage potential readers (or to suggest that this book shouldn't be offered to potential readers) but as an encouragement to handle with care.

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The Wild Ones is lyrical, magical, and stunning. The writing is exquisite and there were so many sentences that just stopped me while reading. Celebrating friendship and support, it's a book that isn't afraid of showing the pain because it's a piece of their journey. While this feels a bit more experimental - with passages like memories and more stream of consciousness - Azad weaves a journey of resistance and love. The beginning feels like a slow unfurling of atmosphere and vibes and then all of a sudden there's this switch and the action builds on this foundation.

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Take the book 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson, add some Charlie’s Angels and some contemporary feminism and you have The Wild Ones. The book tells the story of maligned young women who form family of sorts traveling the world through a series of doors in a between world. They assist the boy who came to the aid of the first Wild One who is now pursued by other magic clans that wish to take his power.

Although this story seems to have bits and pieces reminiscent of other stories, the outright feminist angle makes it feel fresh and original. I enjoyed the camaraderie between the women of the Wild Ones. I also enjoyed how the story told a bit of the story of each one through a mixture of prose and verse.

Thank you NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

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In the same vein as Tahereh Mafi's writing style, The Wild Ones by Nafiza Azad is lyrical and feels so much like a song, your brain begins to imagine a beat behind it. It's almost as if Rupi Kaur's poems were given a novelization. The girls that make up the Wild Ones, blessed by magic given to them through the tears of one who may or may not be in charge of the Between, are powerful, but have suffered so much. Told through an overarching storyline interspersed with small stories and near poems about each of the girls, we begin to learn what got them all to the point where they band together, traveling the Between and the human world, doing their best to survive and help other girls. The Between is the middle world, not quite achieving a godlike status, but also not quite human. It is the world of magic users with portals between human cities,

And the Wild Ones? They ensure everything runs the way it should. It isn't until an ominous being, the first in a long time that is aggressive towards them, references a mysterious "he" that the girls begin to worry that something may be out to stop them. They've lived a life with losses, but also immense joys and the idea of something threatening that causes them to seek whoever this he is and put a stop to it.

As the novel goes on, we're introduced to more of the girl's backstories and the way they became who they are now. The magic system is explored further and it's insane just how much weight a girl's scream can have, especially when all of their screams are combined. If you're a lover of lyrical novels and ones that feel like a poem given weight to rely on and expanded at length into something you can enjoy for the long run.

With the recent trend of booktok to love poetry, The Wild Ones comes at a perfect time to push lovers of poetry into a novel they will love just as much. While it wasn't necessarily my favorite read of the year, I know several students who would love this to pieces and I know that it will do well. Lyrically written novels are some of my favorites and I'm thankful to have had a chance to read this.

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The cover of this book is gorgeous. I thought the premise of this book sounded very interesting. However, I felt like the writing of the book didn't make a lot of sense. it was very disjointed. It was lacking a flow to the plot that would make it all come together.

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This book was so beautiful. Alternating between stream-of-consciousness and a plot-based narrative, The Wild Ones is the story of girls of color refusing to conform to the fate the world demands of them, and instead choosing to be their own people.

What I loved the most about this book is this: Communities of color tend to be more collectivist rather than individualist, and the Wild Ones - girls who are rescued by magic from atrocities like rape, human trafficking, child marriage, prostitution, and the like - reject the notion that their worth is inherently tied to what they can offer to their families in terms of money and other material wealth. And yet, they remain true to the idea of a community anyway by standing together and for each other - but in the way that standing together is meant to be. Healthy, happy, whole, and willing to listen.

I can't recommend this book enough. If you have a young WOC in your life, get this book for her. If you are a young WOC, pick this book up. If you're a WOC but no longer exactly a spring chicken, pick up this book, read it, rejoice in the fact that you're not alone.

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For starters, this cover is absolutely beautiful. It was something that caught my attention immediately and knowing that this story is, to an extent, an own voice representation - I knew I wanted to read The Wild Ones.

The Wild Ones begins by showcasing the trigger warnings and content, allowing readers to be aware of what the story represents and to be prepared for what unravels. Bonus points to the author for being open and including trigger warnings.

I truly loved the entire concept of this book and what the author was sharing with their readers. The Wild Ones is a representation of a group of females who take us on their journey of struggles, hardships, the strength they pulled from one another, and the creation of family/support.

I really wanted to enjoy this book, but it ended up just falling a bit flat for me. The premise was very interesting, but the concept didn’t end up living to its full potential. I truly loved the idea of a talented girl squad that could represent readers who felt there was a lack of representation in the YA genre. I believe Nafiza did an exceptional job bringing their personal experiences and allowing readers to learn to confront their vulnerabilities. The author uses her voice to bring to readers' attention the issues and struggles that women face around the world.

As I previously stated, I loved the entire concept of the story but the world-building, the 10+ characters, and the switch in point of view were a bit disappointing. Overall, I believe Azad did a wonderful job in bringing to light the hardships women encounter in our world, but the story itself fell flat for me and thus my review.

TW: Misogyny, child endangerment, bullying, human trafficking, abuse, blood, violence, guilt

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me an ARC of The Wild Ones in exchange for an honest review!

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In The Wild Ones, readers are invited to join Paheli and a group of young women who have escaped horrid pasts by using magic gifted to them by the boy with stars in his eyes.

This book intrigued me on many different levels; one being the beautifully illustrated cover, another being the premise of the story, but the main attraction being the author–whom I greatly respect after encountering her powerful storytelling in her book The Candle and the Flame. However, because I loved [book:The Candle and the Flame|39821312] so much, I was expecting something far different than what The Wild Ones has to offer, which in the end, left me disappointed.

The writing style is unlike anything I’ve ever read in YA fantasy. It is incredibly whimsical and poetic, which, for me, takes away from the story because the writing would almost become so much like poetry that it tried to speak to the reader personally and forgot to tell the story. Though when I step back and look at the book as a whole, I’m not convinced that the author even wants you to read The Wild Ones for the story at all, but rather for the advocation and awareness that she brings to the mistreatment of women across the world. So, some readers may fall in love with this style of storytelling, however, I had a difficult time engaging with the story and the characters because of how it’s written and formatted. It took me nearly five months to finish it–which is severely long for me.

To expound on the feminist message and story present, I believe this book is meant to bring awareness about women who are preyed on (in many ways) and the story is an aid to get that message across, rather than the message aiding the progression of the story. So in other words, readers will get a very loud message with a side plot of story instead of a really good story with a powerful accompanying message. This is fine, of course, as many readers may like this, but after reading The Candle and the Flame, I picked up The Wild Ones expecting an exciting fantasy story. And while there is fantasy and a story present in this book, it’s more of a collection of the author’s thoughts and views on feminism told through about twelve different women who happen to be going on a fantastical quest. This left me pretty bored because the story was so minuscule compared to the message that I couldn’t even learn all of the character’s names because they all blended together into this one, unanimous voice trying to tell me how men mistreated them and how they saved themselves. There were just so many characters with similar stories (and when they spoke, they spoke as a collective unison, so even if the story switched points of view, whoever was speaking was still speaking for the entire group. There was no individuality–which may have been the point, but it made it difficult for me to follow).

The book is also incredibly raw when referring to topics, too many of which I would consider trigger warnings but I simply cannot name them all. Especially in the nature of abuse, sex trafficking, rape, infidelity, and many other things that these women were rescued from or experienced before Paheli shared her magic and turned them into a Wild One. There are no detailed recounts of the actual events that took place, however, the feelings of these women and the memories haunt them are written in ways that are clearly meant to envoke heavy feelings of sympathy or meant to relate to readers who may have also experienced the same type of situation. So because of this, I would heavily advise caution to readers who may have endured any kind of traumatic situation and may still be healing from that. I will also mention, for other readers to make their decision on picking up this book, that there is strong support for the LGBQT+ community and while there are hints at an LGBQT+ romance, there is nothing beyond flirting (I’m clarifying because many of the other reviews I’m reading are making this book seem incredibly LGBQT+ focused, and I just didn’t see that as I read it. Supportive, but not focused).

Overall, I still adore The Candle and the Flame and will continue to drive my friends crazy as I encourage them to pick it up, however, this one just didn’t cut it for me and I almost wish I hadn’t read it because it will make me incredibly hesitant to read any future books by this author–unless it was connected in some way to The Candle and the Flame. I give it 2 out of 5 stars.

I received this book from the author/publisher via Netgalley for free, however, this is a voluntary review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

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The phrase “you have stars in your eyes”
Never rang more true than in this book. When Paheli meets Taraana he gives her stars which lead her to the in between. In this space the pain, suffering and misery of her life, and others like her, are turned into their strengths and they use their magic to help others just like them. The become The Wild Ones, beautiful and fierce and powerful, and when the universe threatens the boy who gave them the stars in his eyes they know they have no choice but to help him.

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At times this 352 mature YA book was really hard to read for a variety of reasons: the subject matter, the writing style, the pacing of the story, and the numerous characters and inconsistencies.  At other times, the book was descriptive, and ethereal and hard to put down.  It took me over a month to finish the book because it really is all over the place and a lot of internal force and motivation was required to get through it, yet for all its flaws, I find my thoughts drifting back to it often.  The book contains a lot of violence against women, as that is the thread that brings this feminist group together.  There are hetero, lgbtq+, trans, and nonbinary individuals and relationships in the book, but they are not explicit, the rape, assault, suicide, prostitution, child trafficking and murder are more detailed.  The book takes place all over the world, and often mentions the athan being called or a mosque being passed.  Many characters have "Islamic" names, but there is no religion specifically practiced in this hijabi authored women powered tale.  


The premise of the book is simple and straightforward.  A girl, the daughter of a prostitute, is betrayed by her mother when she is sent to a man.  As she runs through the city to escape, she crosses paths with a young boy who tosses her a box that contains stars.  A star embeds itself in her palm and allows her to enter a place called the "Between."  The Between is a magical corridor made of magic that contains doors that lead to locations all over the world.  Once she enters she stops aging and is now made of magic.  She has the power to scream which can destroy other middle worlders and she can go invisible when around normal humans.  She travels the world finding other girls betrayed by those who had been entrusted to protect them, and offers them a star and a place in the Wild Ones.  This has been going on for centuries.  When the boy with the star eyes is in danger, he is reunited with the girl and her gang, and they pledge to protect him.


The concept of the book is pretty good, but the plot for more than half of the book it seems focuses on the girls constantly arriving in a new location, exchanging diamonds for local currency, finding food, and getting settled in, before doing it all over again.  It is repetitive and pointless.  Sure it is nice to read about exotic locations and savor local foods, but these girls live forever essentially and we learn so little about them or what it is they do.  Toward the middle of the book you start to see them helping other girls, but this should have been made clear much earlier on, I'm sure many people stopped reading before they saw how part of each girls' healing involved helping others.  It is not developed or shown, which I think other than the two encounters detailed would have created some connection between the characters and the reader.

The cause of most of the confusion is that there are 11 Wild Ones, and you never really get to know any of them, the point of view switches between Paheli, and unknown speaker, and it has pages of prose from other Wild Ones that are neither explanatory of their life before or in relation to what they are currently experiencing. The fourth wall is broken periodically, but inconsistently.  So often, I just had no idea what was going on.  

At times the characters speak like they are the teens that they are when they entered the Between, really noticeably and painfully, but they are decades old at the youngest, and centuries old for some of them.  Also, Taraana is presented as a young small boy that needs coddling a lot, although he too is centuries old, but then as the girls start protecting him, he suddenly is this incredibly handsome man in love with Paheli.  I get that their physical ages are suspended, so a relationship really might be possible and not creepy, but Taraana seemed to change, and it wasn't explained.

The world building overall is weak, which is a shame, because it isn't disjointed from the real world, it is just a slight addition to what the reader already knows.  If the Between is just hallways how is there a library? Can you live in the Between? Can all middle worlders access it? If so why aren't the corridors crowded?

The pain of the girls, their rage, their ability to deal with their traumas in their own way and time, is very empowering.  I wish the sisterhood was more mutual than blindly following Paheli, like lost little children.  These girls/women can decide what to partake it, and leave the group if they want, so they are strong and capable, they just don't seem to get to show it as they bounce around from place to place to place eating and doing what they are told.

The book almost seems to have been written in sections and then dropped in to place.  Much of the character information comes too late to make the story resonate.  Sure part of it is intentional to clarify and create "aha" moments, but it creates really boring stagnant chapters, when these girls should be fierce and powerful, not lounging and mundane.

There were a few spelling errors and grammar gaps, but I read an advanced readers copy, so I'm hopeful they will be resolved.


Prostitution, rape, assault, suicide, death, murder, child trafficking, torture, drowning, infanticide, girl/boy kissing, girl/boy and girl/girl flirting. Many of the online reviews make it seem more lgbtq+ than I felt it was.  There are two lesbian characters that flirt and imply that their relationship will move forward, but within the Wild Ones they aren't all hooking up.  Paheli and Taraana kiss, but nothing more graphic.  


I don't think there is any way I could do this as a book club selection at an Islamic school, nor would I want to. The book has powerful commentary on the status and crimes against women the world over, and possibly older, say early 20 year olds, would benefit from reading and adding their voices to a dialogue regarding life experiences. But, the story line might be too simplistic for older readers to bond with, and the confusion and inconsistencies may not be worth the time needed to finish the book.

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