I was familiar with Pat Murphy before reading this Cybils nominee; I think that THE CITY, NOT LONG AFTER, is a brilliant novel.  However, THE WILD GIRLS is a very different type of writing, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was really impressed, though!

Joan, a twelve-year-old girl, is less than thrilled when her family moves across the country. Once she gets there, she meets Sarah, a girl her own age who prefers to be called “Fox.” Fox and her life are very different from Joan’s. Fox spends most of her time playing alone in the woods, and lives with her father, a writer. Fox’s life is much less controlled by society than Joan’s. Joan’s mother wants her to make some normal friends and join the Girl Scouts.

My description doesn’t really do it justice, though. Much of this book turns out to be about writing. Joan and Fox (I just couldn’t think of her as  Sarah) write a short story together that wins a contest, and are enrolled in a summer writing class, through which they learn about much more than writing.

THE WILD GIRLS is an insightful, very well-written middle-grade novel. It’s also kind of an MG-YA crossover; it will be of interest to some teens as well. Anyone, really, who enjoys a good book, will enjoy this one, with its wonderful characters and voice. It’s a really wonderful story, and a good Christmas gift, especially for younger teen and pre-teen girls.