Wildlife by Fiona Wood
It’s the term of all terms for the year tens at Crowthorne Grammar as they embark on their school’s annual outdoor education camp, tucked away in the Victorian bush. As if it’s not enough to be surrounded by your classmates 24/7 and made to tackle the wilderness, Sibylla is also getting used to her newfound fame that stemmed from a perfume ad that she modelled for over the school holidays. Plus, there’s Ben Capaldi, and the kiss. Really, everything should be perfect, but as the term progresses and friendships and morals are questioned, Sibylla has to think about what and who is really important in her life.
Watching all this is Sibylla’s roommate Lou (from Fiona Wood’s first novel, Six Impossible Things). Lou is dealing with a death that has torn her apart, and she has decided to move to Crowthorne Grammar instead of going on exchange to France. Reserved and hiding in her own world, Lou finds herself slowly becoming more intrigued at the drama that is Sibylla’s life.
Wildlife is wonderful. Fiona Wood has once again created a quirky and intelligent novel for young adults, with characters that question friendships, learn that fitting in isn’t everything and tackle that scary thing called first love. Highly recommended for ages 14 and up.
Katherine Dretzke is a bookseller at Readings Hawthorn.