Julie’s frustrations are many: her brother is a talking cat, her mother is Rapunzel, and the essence of fairy tales lives under her bed and eats her socks. Hundreds of years ago, the fairy tale characters defeated the Wild and managed to escape. They still tell horror stories about their years trapped into repeating the same stories over and over, though when Julie is around they are careful never to go into specifics. Her mother refuses to tell her how they managed to escape, or to talk about Julie’s father, whom Julie has never met.
Julie just wants to be normal, but that is impossible. It’s particularly problematic when the Wild escapes, enveloping the entire town – including Julie’s mother. Determined to rescue her mother, Julie ventures into the Wild, desperately trying to avoid becoming ensnared in a story, and wracking her brains for a solution. The one story she’s never read or heard is how the fairy tale characters defeated the Wild in the first place – and if they struggled for centuries to achieve their goal, can Julie do it overnight?
Into the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst is a wildly imaginative tale. Borrowing bits and pieces of fairy tales both familiar and obscure, she creates an environment both intriguing and frightening. While the ending may be a little too convenient, the author commendably does not make all of the problems go away. The actions and adventures of the characters in the Wild will have repercussions in the outside world as well. Leaving us primed for the highly anticipated sequel, due out next fall.