Book Review: Wild Blue Wonder
By: Carlie Sorosiak
Published By: HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Page Count: 368
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Young Adult - Magical Realism
It seems to be the summer of reading books set in Maine; I'd be lying if I said that didn't influence my decision to give this one a read. While my last Maine read was a dark mystery, this one is a gorgeous and lyrical ode to the wonders and tragedies of life. I lingered with this novel longer than I intended because I wanted to savor every chapter. The writing is gorgeous and the magical realism elements hit the perfect chord with me. This is certainly a 2018 favorite and I urge you to grab a copy if you haven't already.
Quinn Sawyer used to have an amazing life. She was being scouted by universities throughout the U.S. due to her swimming ability; she lives on land that is a summer camp with a bit of magic lingering in the air; she has close friends and strong relationships with her siblings, parents, and grandmother. Everything is going beautifully until Quinn begins to realize that she may have romantic feelings toward Dylan, a boy that has been around her whole life and may as well be a member of her family. To make matters more complicated, Quinn realizes that Fern and Reed, her siblings, also have feelings for Dylan. Quinn buries her desire, but at Dylan's farewell party, she decides it's now or never. Dylan has to know her heart, but that choice will lead to a tragedy that will leave Quinn's life in shambles.
The novel unfolds in alternating time periods between the summer when everything fell apart and the winter of Quinn's senior year of high school. Quinn and her family are still reeling from the tragedy. The family that was once strong has become a weak connection of people who share DNA, but little else. Quinn sees herself as a monster because she knows in her bones that everything is her fault. She destroyed everything she cared about with one stupid choice.
Life moves on even when grief roots you in place to wallow in your sorrow and regrets. Quinn is trying to learn to navigate her new normal with little success. She is a shell of her former self, but the project of restoring a boat with her grandmother and best friend, Hana, give her a glimmer of hope that everything might be okay someday.
Things become even more interesting when the handsome Alexander moves to town. Quinn does her best to keep Alexander at arms length, but he either doesn't know about her past or doesn't care because he always seems to be trying to win her over. He may just be the thing she needs to help move into a new phase of life.
This is a beautiful and haunting look at the impact of grief and how seeds of happiness can be planted in even the most desolate garden. Layered with romance, friendship, and magical realism, Wild Blue Wonder is a read that will curl up in your heart. It also helps that a sea monster may or may not make an appearance. This is a new favorite that I will be returning to in the future. I want more of the Sawyer family and The Hundreds.
One Last Gripe: I was impatient to learn about Dylan. Looking back, I understood the choice to have things come out slowly as it allowed me to understand Quinn better. In my reread, I won't have that anxiousness hovering.
Favorite Thing About This Book: Oh gosh, I loved this one, so picking one favorite thing is difficult. I'll go with the setting as I wanted to pack a bag and move to Winship.
First Sentence: She wasn't supposed to knock.
Favorite Character: Quinn
Least Favorite Character: Fern, but I ended up liking her by the end
There are two monsters in this story. One of them is me.
Ask anyone in Winship, Maine, and they’ll tell you the summer camp Quinn’s family owns is a magical place. Paper wishes hang from the ceiling. Blueberries grow in the dead of winter. According to local legend, a sea monster even lurks off the coast. Mostly, there’s just a feeling that something extraordinary could happen there.
Like Quinn falling in love with her best friend, Dylan.
After the accident, the magic drained from Quinn’s life. Now Dylan is gone, the camp is a lonely place, and Quinn knows it’s her fault.
But the new boy in town, Alexander, doesn’t see her as the monster she believes herself to be. As Quinn lets herself open up again, she begins to understand the truth about love, loss, and monsters—real and imagined.