Wild Things is the story of recently orphaned eleven year old girl named Zoe gone to live with an unknown uncle named Henry. Zoe was raised by a mentally unstable mother and her steady stream of boyfriends. The years of neglect and dysfunction have taken their toll so that Zoe doesn’t really trust anyone over the age of eighteen - including her mysterious new uncle, an irascible recluse who doesn’t seem to want much to do with his new charge. But Zoe’s nothing if not a survivor and smart as a whip too. She knows she’ll survive this just like she always has and warily accepts her new circumstances – ready to take flight at a moment’s notice. But Henry quietly proves time and again that he’s not going anywhere, surrounding her with the kind of love, stability and protection that she didn’t even know existed.
In a lot of ways it’s a fairly well-trod, predictable type of storyline, but when the formula works it works. This is a book which had me calling to mind so many other works – Heidi, The Secret Garden, etc. But, the story remains fresh because the author provides us with a cast of truly unique and believable characters – starting with spunky little Zoe who understands more about life and humanity than most adults ever will. And I’m utterly in love with Henry – a refreshing and rare realistic fictional parent figure. Plus there’s a whole cast of characters – from a lovable feral cat to a mysterious wild boy in the woods – all well worth getting to know. All in all a genuinely charming and uplifting story.