I can’t say I read a lot of YA but when I do, I always like a story that is a little out of the ordinary. This standalone dystopian YA novel from Tethers Trilogy author Jack Croxall certainly delivered.
Meet sixteen year old Wye who is travelling through an English wilderness on route to a cabin and hopefully permanent safety. Following The Spread of a mystery Sickness, most of the population has perished.
Trying to survive in the aftermath by avoiding corpses and constantly on the lookout for shelter, food and water supplies, Wye travels with a little band of fellow teenagers who each bring their own skill or qualities to the group. Not just your bog-standard zombie novel, Wye has a few surprises in store to keep you on your toes.
The story is told in the form of Wye’s journal as she describes her time on her cross-country trip, and also looks back on her life before The Sickness. As well as sharing her memories and coming to terms with some secrets of her past, Wye is quite reflective in the journal and she certainly has plenty of time to think things through. It’s not only her own life that she is reflective about, but she also has plenty of opinions about society before The Sickness that takes up many of her thoughts.
Secrets and current circumstances aside, Wye is pretty much a regular teenager and so in getting to know her via her detailed diary, it was easy for me to get attached to her character and really root for her to make it to that cabin always on the horizon.
In her old life, Wye was something of a literature fan and often thinks back on her favourite reads, especially when she finds the books of departed people. I really liked that element to the story, quoting Keats and discussing Shakespeare only just skims the surface of some literary greats that are name dropped throughout the story.
On top of the obvious dangers, Wye and her friends are also being stalked by an unknown predator which Wye refers to as the “monster” and that added a lot of tension and suspense to the novel. It’s not so much a race against time, as a hard slog to salvation.
Will Wye survive the wilderness, the monster and her ever pressing guilt? I think dystopian readers and YA fans will enjoy the journey to find out. Wye is a simmering suspenseful and thought provoking novel that will definitely appeal to readers of this genre.