Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Review: Wild Child by Mike Wells

Genre: YA novella-- science fiction
Pages: 110 (kindle e-book)
Buy this book on Amazon for 99 cents

Briana Fox is the wildest girl in school. She and Kyle have been close for a long time...almost lovers. Kyle is afraid that if he pushes her, he'll have his heart broken and lose his best friend. When Briana discovers a mysterious 'power drug' in an underwater cave, two government agents are desperate to find the source and turn Briana into a human experiment. Will Kyle risk everything to protect his love?

My Take: 
 *I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review, which I have given below.*

Kyle's father may be skeptical of his son's long-time friendship with Briana Fox, but steadier, more down-to-earth Kyle is enchanted by Briana's impulsive and often reckless personality.  So when Briana's wild streak leads her to swim across the boating zone of a local lake-- ultimately into the path of a spinning boat propeller-- Kyle desperately searches for her, all the while fearing the worst.  But far from being grievously wounded, Briana soon resurfaces from the depths of an underwater cave, claiming she's never felt better in her life.  For she has discovered a puddle of something deep at the bottom of the unknown cave, a kind of natural "super drug" which may have the power to save lives...or ruin Briana's forever.  It's like they always say: There definitely must be something in the water.

Wild Child is an immediately engaging story, about novella length with short chapters, but with enough excitement and intrigue for a sprawling science fiction novel.  However, the short length works perfectly, as high school (almost) sweethearts Briana and Kyle's uncanny encounter with a mysterious natural drug which proves to have bizarre effects when drunk, turns into a battle with CIA agents.  From there the action and suspense winds down abruptly with a spectacular and utterly surprising conclusion-- all of this within less than a quarter the length of many books.  I must applaud the author's ability to tell such a story and develop such fully-realized characters as Kyle and Briana over the course of so few pages!  Briana was one of the most unpredictable characters I've ever read about, though her actions are in many ways understandable.  Kyle was a subtler character, but it's easy to admire his devotion and love for Briana-- I'd count myself very lucky indeed if I had a friend who'd make the kind of sacrifices and risks he does for her. 

A cool thing about this book: indie author Mike Wells had actually given away all 200 print copies of Wild Child after his move to teach in Latvia (he currently teaches at Oxford) due to the astronomical costs of international shipping.  He was understandably surprised to find that printed copies of his book were, and are, being sold on Amazon, completely unknown to him at that time!  Clearly Wild Child is indeed, as Mike Wells says, 'the book which refused to die'.  Today it's being sold in e-book and Kindle formats on Amazon, and is currently available for only 99 cents!  That's a superb deal for a superb short novel with a real killer of an ending!  And finally, I must briefly express my love for the cover: Briana's character, her hair, and her expression could not be more perfect! 

Cover: 5/5
Premise: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5

1 comment:

RhiannonPaille said...

Hey! Hopping through on Follow Friday! Like your design!

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