Friday, February 2, 2018

Review: Wild Bird

Wild Bird
Wendelin Van Draanen
Published September 5, 2017
3:47 a.m. That's when they come for Wren Clemens. She's hustled out of her house and into a waiting car, then a plane, and then taken on a forced march into the desert. This is what happens to kids who've gone so far off the rails, their parents don't know what to do with them any more. This is wilderness therapy camp.

The Wren who arrives in the Utah desert is angry and bitter, and blaming everyone but herself. But angry can't put up a tent. And bitter won't start a fire. Wren's going to have to admit she needs help if she's going to survive.

In her most incisive and insightful book yet, beloved author Wendelin Van Draanen's offers a remarkable portrait of a girl who too a wrong turn and got lost--but who may be able to find her way back again in the vast, harsh desert. - from Goodreads
Wren is an out-of-control 14-year old - she smokes a lot of weed, she steals, she lies, she destroys things.  Running out of options, Wren's parents decide to send her to a wilderness therapy program.  Wren is dropped off in the middle of the Utah desert, joining a group of other troubled young women.  As the weeks go on, Wren must decide if she's willing to change her ways.

The author did a great job capturing Wren.  I really felt like I was in the mind of this 14-year-old; her tone of voice, her actions, everything felt very quintessential teenager.  The anger she felt towards her parents, her sister, and the bad group of kids she had gotten mixed up in leapt off the page.  I could feel her resistance towards the therapy program, but I loved those moments when Wren's walls came down and she could be really honest with herself (and others) about why she acted the way she did.

The story moved very quickly.  I flew through it in just a few hours; I found myself desperate to know what would happen to Wren.  I appreciated that the author mixed in both successes and failures for Wren within the program.  It felt realistic for her to have breakthroughs but to also experience setbacks.

There were only a few downsides to this book - the program Wren is enrolled in is only 8 weeks.  I don't think that's enough time to really explore one's issues and make lasting changes.  And although the story ends on a high note, I almost wanted some sort of epilogue or jump forward into the future, to see how Wren is doing now.

4 stars

20 comments:

  1. I love when I fly through a book like that. Like the sound of this one and the wilderness program. Great review!!

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    1. Thanks, Grace! I just couldn't put it down!

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  2. This sounds like a great read, but I am so not a fan of the book just ending. I want that epilogue as well.

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  3. Sounds like a great read! I read a similar book once but it focused more on humor and I think this book is a little more serious. I think that's a good thing, though. Great review!

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    1. Yes, this definitely has a serious tone, although it does have lighter moments.

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  4. Ooh I have this to read, and this is the first review I've seen for it! Nice to see that you found it a 4 star, that makes me want to move it up the TBR a bit. :) Can't wait to get to it.

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  5. This sounds amazing, I'll have to give it a read! <3

    Charlotte | https://charlotteidek.com

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  6. I have not heard of this one before and I am love with that synopsis. This story does sound quite realistic and relatable. I do agree with you that it does seem like the time frame for Wren to have lasting results from her therapy is a bit too short. I will definitely have to give this one a try! :)

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    1. I hope you enjoy this one! It's books like this that are making me love YA again!

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  7. I have had this one on my radar for a while. I love a story of growth, change, and redemption, but I am with you. I ALWAYS want an epilogue. I am greedy like that.

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    1. I know! It just ended too quickly! I needed more.

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  8. Oooh! A wilderness therapy program sounds really interesting!

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  9. Ah, I checked and this was fiction. I thought at first you'd read a memoir or biography. I read a similar book a couple of years ago but it was a true story a mother wrote about her daughter sent to a wilderness camp to get their act together. Sounds like it would be an interesting read!

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    1. It was! It would be cool to compare this book to a nonfiction about wilderness therapy camps!

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  10. glad to hear the author explores the good and the bad of the program, but I agree, 8 weeks is not enough

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    1. Yeah, that was something that gave me pause, but I'm glad it was more than a week or two!

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I'm so glad you stopped by, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Comments are always greatly appreciated!