Wednesday, September 4, 2013

SUNNY: BLOG TOUR, REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY "The Wild Wood" by Julie Anne Nelson

In the town of Dunlowe, being different can be deadly. No one knows this better than the seven girls born on the exact same day, at the exact same time. From birth, they've been feared, judged, and controlled. And yet, still loved by their families. Still hoping for a future. Still believing that acceptance would one day come. As their seventeenth birthday approaches, events occur that leave Cecily Daye and the other girls grasping with the possibility that their oppressors might have been right about them all along. Maybe they are as evil as the town has believed. But without an answer, they must make a choice when the town turns on them: to die or to run to the one place no person would follow—they must enter The Wild Wood. 

When I was a kid, there was a groundbreaking mini-series on television called Roots. It was the personal history of author, Alex Haley, beginning with his ancestor being captured by slavers in Africa and brought to American and concluding with his tracing his family roots in Africa 150 years later.  It was the quintessential story about slavery, race, love and family.  It had a profound impact on my sense of justice and what it meant to be the “other.”  I was primed to like this book. 

Cecily Daye is a “seven”, one of the seven girls born at the same time on the same day.  The town labels them harbingers of evil and seeks to isolated them from one another – they cannot interact and cannot even look at one another.  They are treated as pariahs though they have done nothing wrong.  They are the “other”, and through that lens, it is easy to dehumanize them.  Left with no alternative, the girls escape into the Wild Wood.  We enter a new world where we learn why these seven exist and ultimately, the devastating power they wield. 

I was completely captivated from the beginning.  The narrative is intense and gripping, the characters are well-developed and compelling.  Cecily’s courage and compassion for her fellow sevens and the town is admirable.  The way that prejudice and hatred manifests itself in the town is frightening. I am still shaking with anger and fear for the girls.  To see the town people turn their backs on this group is devastating.  It breaks my heart.  Julie Anne Nelson does an excellent job of helping the reader feel the injustice.  

The book takes a bit of a turn when the girls enter into the Wild Wood. The story moves more toward the fantasy realm and is a little more familiar.  After the previous gut-wrenching episodes, I missed the emotional punch of the first part of the book. Yet, overall, this is a strong story and I am anxious to move to the next book. 

Mixing the realities of prejudice in a growing dystopian world, I highly recommend this book for its authentic portrayal of hatred stirred up from misunderstanding and dehumanization.  I can see this book being a great conversation starter in discussing xenophobia, prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination with a young adult audience. Or just do yourself a favor and pick up this amazing read.

Julie Anne Nelson's passion for young adult fiction stemmed from her six years teaching middle school social studies and English. Her goal now is to add a new voice to the already impressive landscape of young adult writers. Julie currently works as a technical editor and in her free time writes like there is no tomorrow, reads like a junky, and pines for opportunities to wear her favorite high heels.


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September 6-  Lost in Ever After
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September 9-   Donnie Darko Girl
September 10- The Lovely Books
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                      Shelf Envy~ Joy @ Joyous Reads 


  1. I like a YA character who is strong willed.

  2. I like a YA character to be strong as well. I don't like them to be mopey and down all through the book, I like when they take action and do something about what's bothering them.