P.S. If you’ve already read the book, feel free to add any other discussion questions of your own in the comments!
Wilder Girls contains body horror, gore, suicide, and violence.
Hetty is considered one of the best shots on Gun Squad, which helps her get the coveted position of Boat Shift. If you were living in an apocalyptic/dystopian world, what skills do you have now that would be the most useful?
1. Author Rory Power gives the reader small bits of information at a time, slowly unraveling the whole story piece by piece. Did you like this type of storytelling, or do you prefer when an author is more forthcoming with information? Did you think not-knowing added to the fear-factor?
2. Hetty, Byatt and Reese have a complicated friendship. They can be violent with one another, but have survived because of each other. What did you think of the relationships between these three girls? Did you identify with any of them more than the others?
3. Did you think that the Boat Shift girls and Welch were right to throw out the questionable food items without telling the other girls, or did they have a moral obligation to be honest? What would you have done?
4. Before Byatt kisses Teddy, she tells a story about making up a friend and faking her death for attention. What do you think Power was telling us about Byatt in that flashback? Why do you think Byatt kissed Teddy? Do you think she was lying about not knowing he would get the Tox?
5. How do you think the Tox was different for Reese, who grew up on Raxter and had to watch her father succumb to the plague, versus Hetty and Byatt, whose parents were off-island and hadn’t tried to come for them (or, as we ultimately find out, thought they were dead)? Which do you think is worse?
6. When Byatt finds the worm in her arm, she says, “A violation, but a gift too. It let me find a reason for everything I felt, at Raxter, in Boston, and every day in between. It let me match my body to my mind. I can thank it for that, at least.” How much of the girls’ violent, destructive behavior can be blamed on the Tox, and how much of it do you think is their circumstance?
7. Do you think Hetty and Reese should have tried to save the other girls even if it hurt their chances of getting off the island?
8. Were you surprised by the way Power tied climate change into the Tox’s origins? What do you think Hetty meant when she said the Tox was trying to help her survive, and why do you think it preferred teen girls?
9. Power leaves Wilder Girls open-ended. What do you think will happen to the girls when they arrive on the mainland? Will Byatt ever recover? Do you think Hetty and Reese will eventually be cured, or all three of them doomed?