Out of the Wild
by Sarah Beth Durst
Review by Gayle Surrette
Razorbill Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781595141590
Date: 19 June 2008 List Price $15.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
At the end of Into the Wild, Julie managed to gain control of the Wild. It's now back under her bed and life is pretty much back to normal. Of course, now her hometown is trying to build up a reputation as Fairy Tale Central. Rapunzel, Julie's mom, is not amused and the push for notoriety has her worried. People don't seem to understand just how dangerous the Wild can be. But then unexpectedly, the Wild spits out Julie's dad. Why did that happen? What is the Wild up to?
Julie is happy to finally have her family together. But the Prince doesn't understand the 21st century -- he's a hero and he just can't not help damsels in distress. And he doesn't trust Julie's grandmother, the wicked witch who put Rapunzel in the tower. So, when he takes off to save a princess against everyone's advice, Julie grabs on -- she's not going to lose her father again.
There's just so much fodder here for hilarity and there is a lot of laughter. However, Durst never loses sight of the story and manages to layer the story on the serious issues of fairy tales being real. The Wild is loose and taking over, and once again Julie is the person on the spot to do what has to be done. She's also grown up hearing about the truth behind the fairy tales and she knows that there isn't a lasting happily ever after -- there's a reset and the characters do it over and over again, with no way to change the outcome because you won't remember who you were or what you wanted to do.
The thought of losing yourself in the story can sound appealing but, in the Wild, when the fairly tale is over, the story doesn't go on, it just resets for the next reading. Somehow Julie needs to find a way to bring the Wild under control. The story could go in any direction once it is set in motion and you keep thinking of what could be done, and then it takes a turn you didn't expect and it rolls on in a different direction. All the plot twists are totally believable based on the characters and the scenario the author has set up.
There is also much more than just a wild adventure with a juvenile protagonist. There's a lot of serious issues amidst the wild ride of adventuring hero off to save the princess, the Wild trying to take over the world, and the fairy tale creatures trying to maintain the lives they've made for themselves out of the Wild. Julie is an amazingly strong character and I'm glad to have met her in these pages.