WHAT SHOULD BE WILD, by Julia Fine, Harper Collins


“Delightful and darkly magical. Julia Fine has written a beautiful modern myth, a coming-of-age story for a girl with a worrisome power over life and death. I loved it.”  —Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry

In this darkly funny, striking debut, a highly unusual young woman must venture into the woods at the edge of her home to remove a curse that has plagued the women in her family for millennia—an utterly original novel with all the mesmerizing power of The Tiger’s Wife, The Snow Child, and Swamplandia!

Cursed. Maisie Cothay has never known the feel of human flesh: born with the power to kill or resurrect at her slightest touch, she has spent her childhood sequestered in her family’s manor at the edge of a mysterious forest. Maisie’s father, an anthropologist who sees her as more experiment than daughter, has warned Maisie not to venture into the wood. Locals talk of men disappearing within, emerging with addled minds and strange stories. What he does not tell Maisie is that for over a millennium her female ancestors have also vanished into the wood, never to emerge—for she is descended from a long line of cursed women.

But one day Maisie’s father disappears, and Maisie must venture beyond the walls of her carefully constructed life to find him. Away from her home and the wood for the very first time, she encounters a strange world filled with wonder and deception. Yet the farther she strays, the more the wood calls her home. For only there can Maisie finally reckon with her power and come to understand the wildest parts of herself.

Out May, 2018


I received this Uncorrected Proof in exchange for my honest review.

Another beautiful cover!

Wow! Where to start?  Dark, brilliantly paced, always building tension, pushing, pushing you forward while peeking your interest just enough to keep you wanting more, turning page after page.  I finished this book in two sittings.

Uniquely fascinating world Fine builds using an amazing concept that I haven’t seen before.  Being cursed is like being dead… being cursed like the MC is worse than death. Fine takes this idea and cleverly pieces the story together, engaging the reader using two perspectives.  I love this type of narrative. It was clearly laid out to know exactly who was speaking.

The complex writing style is perfect for this world, and drives the story.  The world-building is everything I would expect from a paranormal fantasy and done so extraordinarily conjuring imagery necessary to the success of the plot.  I loved how she put this world together, then plunked her Character in it and watched her ARC develop with each twist and turn, moving her steadily toward reaching her goals.  The mystery of the forest, the women held captive there, the cause of the curse… and more will keep you wanting to know more.

The magic element, the premise and character development–all exquisite, all perfect!  I will pick up something else from this author in the future, to see if she can keep up this amazing style of writing.

I gave this book:




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