Wilder Girls by Rory Power is Bookish’s summer 2019 Kelly’s Pick and we want your book club to be prepared with everything you need for a great meeting—including recommendations for what to check out next! All readers can relate to the feeling of finishing a book and immediately wanting to pick up something similar. Below we’ve rounded up books, movies, and TV shows that tackle some of the same themes we loved in Wilder Girls. Note: While Wilder Girls is a young adult novel, we’ve included both YA and adult picks below for readers both young and young at heart.
In Never Let Me Go, students attend a boarding school called Hailsham that might remind you of pre-Tox Raxter. Both novels will leave readers with a sense of horror, although Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel invokes a creeping dread leading to a dark epiphany (as opposed to Wilder Girls, which has more outright thrills and chills). If you love boarding school novels with a sinister twist, Never Let Me Go is a great book to pick up next.
One of Power’s inspirations for Wilder Girls was Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation, and we’d be remiss not mentioning it here. Eleven expeditions have ventured into the mysterious Area X to catalog their findings and all have been infected in strange and different ways by what they encountered there. Now, four women find themselves on the 12th expedition, and readers get to go along for the ride. We also recommend checking out the movie adaptation!
If you were instantly hooked by Wilder Girls’ feminist horror, we’d suggest diving into Sawkill Girls, one of our book club picks from 2018. Set on the island of Sawkill Rock, this young adult novel follows Marion’s hunt for her missing sister. She soon discovers that girls have been disappearing on the island for years, and some think the local legend of the Collector has something to do with it. In this essay for Bookish, Legrand shared the inspiration for this chilling read.
Readers looking for another book that blends realism with elements of science fiction and fantasy should check out this gripping thriller by Lauren Beukes. The book kicks off with Detroit detective Gabriella Versado discovering a strange body: half of a boy and half of a deer fused together. As more bodies begin to turn up, Gabriella will track down the killer and attempt to protect her daughter.
Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen, Shannon Watters
Those looking for a story with less horror and gore and more queer girls exploring a weird world can dive into the Lumberjanes comics. Set at a camp for “hardcore lady-types,” this series is fun, dynamic, and addicting. You’ll meet campers Jo, April, Ripley, Molly, and Mal as they explore the forest, discover magical creatures, face off against monsters, and forge everlasting friendships.
If you connected with the environmental message at the heart of Wilder Girls, we recommend sitting down to watch Hayao Miyazaki’s animated movie Princess Mononoke. This fantasy is set in Japan during the Muromachi period, where the gods of the forest are fighting back against the humans taking over their land. Like the happenings on Raxter Island, things do get weird and gross, plus there’s a female lead who shares Hetty’s determination to protect those she loves.
This action-packed movie is set in a post-apocalyptic desert wasteland where Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa is on a mission to save a group of women from the leader holding them hostage. From body horror to a world altered by a changing environment, this story touches on many of the same themes as Power’s novel. If the final chapters of Wilder Girls had you hooked, you’ll love Fury Road’s focus on escape, survival, and rebellion.
If you enjoyed piecing together clues and trying to discover the cause of the Tox, we think you’ll love getting into the bonkers world of Lost. The setup is simple: A plane crashes and the survivors find themselves on a mysterious island. As they explore, they begin to uncover the island’s deadly secrets. Lost was a cultural phenomenon when it first aired, and while it’s true that the final season divided viewers, it’s guaranteed to keep you talking and theorizing.