Life? It's simple: be true to yourself.
The tricky part is finding out exactly who you are...
"In the holidays before the dreaded term at Crowthorne Grammar's outdoor education camp two things out of the ordinary happened.
A picture of me was plastered all over a twenty-metre billboard.
And I kissed Ben Capaldi."
Boarding for a term in the wilderness, sixteen-year-old Sibylla expects the gruesome outdoor education program â but friendship complications, and love that goes wrong? They're extra-curricula.
Enter Lou from Six Impossible Things â the reluctant new girl for this term in the great outdoors. Fragile behind an implacable mask, she is grieving a death that occurred almost a year ago. Despite herself, Lou becomes intrigued by the unfolding drama between her housemates Sibylla and Holly, and has to decide whether to end her self-imposed detachment and join the fray.
And as Sibylla confronts a tangle of betrayal, she needs to renegotiate everything she thought she knew about surviving in the wild.
A story about first love, friendship and NOT fitting in.
Fiona Wood has been writing television scripts for more than ten years on shows ranging from one-hour dramas such as MDA and The Secret Life of Us, to soaps Neighbours and Home and Away, and children's dramas The Sleepover Club and Silver Sun. Her first young adult novel Six Impossible Things - for which she was awarded the Varuna Eleanor Dark Fellowship - was published in 2010. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and two YAs.
Wildlife is a poignant and insightful view into the teenage battleground of friendships, family and new romance, and is Fiona Wood's confident follow-up to her debut novel Six Impossible Things. Told from the perspectives of 16-year-olds Sibylla and Lou as they spend a term in the wilderness with their classmates, the story follows a group of typical teenagers trying to find their place in a world that has changed greatly since their parents were the same age. While both narrators are likeable, Fiona Wood's great triumph is the voice of Lou, who we first met in Six Impossible Things. She is the new girl at school, observant, witty, self-possessed and still reeling from the death of her boyfriend the previous year. Sibylla, in contrast, is struggling with more common teenage dramas, including boyfriends, old friends and new friends. Through Lou's eyes, and a class assignment on Othello, we are granted a window into the blossoming relationship and subsequent betrayal of Sibylla by those she thought most likely to look out for her. This is perfect for fans of John Green, with just the right blend of emotional heft and humour. I would highly recommend it for readers aged 14 and up. Amelia Lush is the children's buyer at Better Read Than Dead in Newtown. This review first appeared in the Junior Term 2 2013 supplement of Books+Publishing magazine. View more pre-publication reviews here.