Read Wild Things by Clay Carmichael Online

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Stubborn, self-reliant eleven-year-old Zoe, recently orphaned, is forced to move to the country to live with her strange and bad-tempered uncle. Zoe could care less that he's a famous doctor and sculptor. All she knows is that he is impossible to understand. The only interesting thing on the farm is a feral cat who won't let Zoe near. Together, Zoe and her uncle learn abouStubborn, self-reliant eleven-year-old Zoe, recently orphaned, is forced to move to the country to live with her strange and bad-tempered uncle. Zoe could care less that he's a famous doctor and sculptor. All she knows is that he is impossible to understand. The only interesting thing on the farm is a feral cat who won't let Zoe near. Together, Zoe and her uncle learn about trust and the strength of family ties. In this moving coming-of-age novel, Zoe comes to understand what it means to love and be loved, uncovers a long-kept secret, and finds family where she least expects it. Includes an interview with the author and a reading group guide.Named ALA Notable Children's Book Award; Bank Street College of Education Best Children's books of the Year; NCTE Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts; Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book....

Title : Wild Things
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781590786277
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 241 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Wild Things Reviews

  • Lisa Vegan
    2019-03-16 06:10

    I am in love with this book.It’s a phenomenal book, truly astounding. It’s one of those books that touched me so deeply, I felt like burying myself in it and not coming up for air.I adore Mr. C’mere (also known as Mr. C) and Zoë and Henry, and so many more characters, including a couple that ended up surprising me, which was just lovely. The characters are incredibly memorable.This is yet another book I’d give anything to have written; it’s another one of “my” books.It reminds me a bit of The Green Glass Sea, another book I loved, and Zoë reminds me quite a bit of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, and I don’t have much higher praise than that. This story says profound things about trust and love and, yes, as befitting the book’s title, wild things.The story, told by Zoë, with passages from the viewpoint of Mr. C’mere, is simultaneously hilariously funny and devastatingly sad. This book is so deserving of my top-100 shelf, a shelf I’ve kept at significantly fewer than 100 books, because I don’t want to have to choose which books to remove when I find yet another gem such as this book. I want to thank the Children's Books group for alerting me to this book. It was one of the nominees for the Fiction Book Club for December, and I started reading it without knowing or caring if it would be the book selected for group discussion.On the acknowledgments page at the end of the book, the author-illustrator (yes, there are some illustrations in this book, all of them of a cat) thanks a cat who was an important companion in her life, and a photo of the cat is included, which is a nice touch.There is so much more to this story, so many layers, so much else I could say, but no matter how much material I included, I couldn’t do the book justice, so I won’t try. I’m delighted that Clay Carmichael is a Goodreads author member because otherwise I’d be making a huge effort to get her to join. I’m that much of a fan.

  • Jennifer Wardrip
    2019-03-14 09:22

    Reviewed by Andrew S. Cohen for TeensReadToo.comIn WILD THINGS, protagonist Zoe no longer trusts anyone. Both her parents have now left her; her father left at an early age, and now her mother, an irresponsible mother and slob, has died. As a result of her traumatic, unbelievably self-sufficient childhood, Zoe trusts only herself.To begin, Zoe goes to live with her uncle, Dr. Henry Royster, a surgeon. In his house she finds massive sharp metal sculptures dangling in a room, as she finds out her uncle is a famed sculptor. Though reluctant to trust Henry because everyone else in her life has failed her, Zoe finds much in common with him, especially their equally broken hearts.All the while, Zoe meets a cast of friendly, curious characters who are loyal to Henry and begin to mend her heart, along with a wise cat and a mystical boy in the nearby forest. Zoe's curiosity, as she explores the woods, leads to adventure, heroism, and more as she unmasks the boy's identity, defiles a local lie, and more through her Wild Spirit. The tale of WILD THINGS is a wondrous page-turner.What a phenomenal debut book by Ms. Carmichael. Throughout the story, I was stunned by the depth of the characters, and how I truly connected with many of them. My favorite part was the added perspective of the narrative of the wild cat, which adds an excellent dimension to this book. Carmichael, inspired by her actual husband, also a metal artist, skillfully weaves this story and interesting characters together to create the masterpiece that is WILD THINGS.A must-read for all readers!

  • Betsy
    2019-02-27 09:19

    I like children's books that touch you without pandering at the same time. I like books that make you cry, but don't bend over backwards to make you think that they're sob-worthy. Basically, I like books that can get at the heart of a story the old-fashioned way. Through plain good writing. Now I don't know this Clay Carmichael character. According to her bio she's a resident of Carrboro, North Carolina. She's written three picture books in the past, making this book Wild Things her first novel. As a kid, if you'd tried to sell me on this tale by calling it a "coming-of-age story" I would have gagged right then and there. If, on the other hand, you'd said that this was a book about a kid who has practically lived on her own her entire life, goes off to live with her potentially crazy uncle, finds a cat in need of taming, and stumbles on a denizen of the woods who may or may not want to be found. . . . now THAT's a novel I could get behind! Forget that coming-of-age jargon. What you've got here is a story about freedom and learning to trust people. You'll find that there's a reason this book begins with a quote from Jorge Luis Borges that reads, "Love is a religion with a fallible god".The wild things. They're critters and creatures and people who can't be tamed, but can (with patience) be coaxed. Eleven-year-old Zoe is wise beyond her years. She's had to be. Until now she's been taking care of her mama, a woman who runs hot and cold by turns. Now mama is dead and Zoe's living with her Uncle Henry, an unpredictable character at times. Growing accustomed to his ways (and his sculpture creations), Zoe finds a family with the people who surround her uncle. She even makes the acquaintance of a local wild cat. But who in the blue blazes is that strange wild boy with the white doe that lives in the woods? And what, if anything, is his connection to Zoe?Character is hard. Stereotype is easy. Characters that have been used as stereotypical figures in the past are maybe the hardest of all. We're all familiar with the children's books in which a girl makes friends with an older black woman who has an abundant, unending supply of hope and cheer. Everything from Because of Winn-Dixie to The Secret Life of Bees has gone that route, for better or for worse. There is such a woman in Wild Things too named Bessie, but Carmichael keeps a close eye on this character. Bessie could easily be a standard saintly speaker of platitudes, but Carmichael gives her a very human wicked streak that stretches a mile long. In fact, all of Carmichael's characters are like that. They look stock at first. The crusty uncle with a heartbroken past who learns to love thanks to a little girl (paging The Secret Garden). The wild boy who lives by his own rules, but loves to hear stories told by a girl (Peter Pan). But just using stock characters isn't a problem, it's what you do with them and how you develop them. Even J.K. Rowling took standard tropes that could have been considered tired and worn, but she made them sparkle with her great writing. Carmichael does the same thing on her end, only this time it's with reality pure and strong.She's a writer, that Clay Carmichael. Seems to have it in her bones. Know how I know? She can pull off sentences that a lesser writer couldn't even attempt. Read these sentences with me: " `Welds are stronger than glue, as strong as the metal itself. Welds bind the steel for skyscrapers and bridges together. A good weld almost never breaks.' I thought of Bessie. Too bad a strong weld couldn't fix her heart." You see that? That shouldn't work. Heck, practically the very first sentence OF the book talks about Henry and how he's a heart doctor. A heart doctor! I think the nice thing about first time novelists is that they're willing to take chances with meaning. An author who'd been churning out novels for decades wouldn't get near a metaphor as outright obvious as a heart doctor. But darned if Ms. Carmichael doesn't pull it off. Heck, it wasn't until I reread sections of the book that I even noticed what she was doing. Kids pick up on sentences that try to tug at the heartstrings without earning the readers' trust. They won't be picking up on anything of the sort with this novel.There are a couple loose ends that don't quite get tied up at the end of the book, of course. We never really find out why Zoe's classmate stares at her continually when she first gets to school (though we can probably guess). And we don't really know where the mysterious boy in the book has lived for all these years, or his fawn's story. But by and large you get to the end of this book with the feeling that all roads have converged, and the story has hit its natural end. In spite of the characters still trying to find their way in the world, no one in their right mind would say this book is in need of a sequel. No one I know, anyway.I like books that have good hearts. Good souls. Kids do too when it's done well. Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor was discussed in the children's bookgroup I run, and the kids really got into it. I'll be testing Wild Things out on them soon. This is a book that sucks you in with the storytelling, and doesn't loosen its grip until the very last page. Maybe there are elements in it that won't completely work for the child reader, but generally I think there are a lot of kid-friendly elements here. The headstrong independent girl who can hold her own with adults. The wild child, living in the forest with his snow white companion. And that sense of finding a home with people of "your kind" even if they don't look or seem anything like you. I don't like to pull out the term "a little gem of a book" too often, for fear of overusing the phrase, but if ever a title earned it, it's Wild Things by Clay Carmichael. Entirely enjoyable for kids and adults alike.Ages 10 and up.

  • The Library Lady
    2019-03-09 11:25

    It's far harder to explain why you LIKE a book than why you DON'T.And I really like this one.I could pick holes in some of the plot--some of it just doesn't work the way it should. I could find several of the plot twists a bit too much and a few of the characters less than believable.And I could wonder if my 10 year old or my 14 year old would read this and delight in it the way their mother does. And I do.But Zoe pulled me into her story from page 1. The sections from "Mr C'Mere" did too--as a cat lover myself, I liked Carmichael's attempt to get as far inside a cat's head as a human can, and I think it enhanced the story.So 4 stars it gets. And I hope that it finds the audience that it deserves.

  • Louise
    2019-02-28 09:30

    If you adored Wendy reading to the Lost Boys; if you were tickled by Opal's collection of misfit friends in Because of Winn-Dixie; if you remember how Spyri's Heidi won over her stern grandfather -- then you will welcome the loving vision behind this middle-grade gem. No character here is easily pegged or one-dimensional, least of all Mr. C'Mere, the cat who narrates inter-chapters and is featured in the author's beautiful pen and ink drawings throughout the book. WILD THINGS is about finding home but keeping your freedom, a consummation devoutly to be wished. And savored.

  • Hilary
    2019-03-01 05:09

    After the death of her mother, Zoe is sent to live with her reclusive uncle, Henry, whom she has never met. Zoe has had a life of misfortune with a mentally unstable mother and her plethora of loser boyfriends. She doesn't expect Henry to stick around for long, after all no one else ever has, so why should he be any different? As the months go by, though, she begins to learn that Henry may be worth trusting, as well as some of the other people who live nearby.Ugh. I really wanted to like this book, I really did, but it fell short for me. First, too much was unbelievable. Zoe is a genius who tests out of her grade level but has never gone to school? Really? There's a wild boy living in the woods that no one knows about? And he keeps company with a white deer that every hunter would want to get there hands on? Yep, sure. Also, there are more characters then in a Russian Novel, and they're near impossible to tell apart. The villains in the book are painfully two dimensional, an evil mayor who will have that white deer's head on his wall for his son, who's really a budding artist which is unacceptable to the evil mayor? And the cat? What the hell is that cat talking about? That cat almost makes me not like cats and I keep company with two of them! And perhaps the worst part, there is just too much conflict. This book could have centered on just Zoe learning to trust Henry, but the author has too keep bringing in more and more conflict in an attempt to keep the plot rolling (I guess?). It's not just Henry and Zoe opening up and learning to trust, it's Henry's snotty gallery owner demanding that Henry have a show, it's Zoe's mothers estranged boyfriends showing up unannounced, it's the poor lady next door and her oh so weak heart. Ugh! I think this book has ADD...

  • Donalyn
    2019-03-19 03:16

    I know what you are thinking, "Do I really need to read another children's book about: orphans, wise cats, surviving in the wilderness, dysfunctional families, brooding artists, small town life, or death?"If I promised that Clay Carmichael turned these tropes into something magical, would you travel that well-worn road again?With pitch perfect prose, characters you fall in love with (even the bad ones), and a three hanky resolution, Wild Things is a book I will recommend to many readers (young and not so).

  • Brenda
    2019-03-24 05:33

    Zoe is a young girl who has had to grow up fast. Her mom was in and out of hospitals battling her own demons leaving Zoe to fend for herself for the most part. When Zoe's mother dies unexpectantly, she moves in with a half-uncle named Henry and quickly realizes that not only do they both have flaming red-hair but they also share a very quick temper. Uncle Henry use to be a heart surgeon but has decided instead to focus on his art by creating giant metal sculptures in the small-town where he grew up. Zoe is instantly drawn to her new house and especially the woods that surround it. She "senses" an old tom-cat who hides nearby and gently tries to coax it into her life just as Uncle Henry is trying to coax Zoe into his. One day, Zoe is wondering around the woods when she comes across an abandoned log cabin and discovers a "wild boy", who can not read or write, living in the woods. And that is where the adventure really begins.This story started out strong and I really liked the two main characters of Zoe and Uncle Henry. However, half-way through the book, the story vered away from reality a little too much for my taste. I could see how Zoe would be able to basically raise herself with the help of her mother's many boyfriends but it is hard for me to believe that a young boy at the age of 5 or 6 could raise himself in the woods to the point where he could not only speak good English but also have a friendly relationship with Zoe. I liked how the author used the cat as an analogy to Zoe and it is from the cat's point of view that we learn the story of the young boy from birth to the age of abandonment. But the story expects the a lot of the reader in just accepting the story line. The other part that bothered me was how the characters of Fred and Bessie where just too unreal to me with their open arms to all strangers and good nature. I liked the characters but I just found them to be too good to be plausible. In fact, the entire ending was just too unbelievable for me.

  • Kathy
    2019-03-10 09:04

    In her first-ever stable home, 11-year-old Zoe gradually learns to trust her sculptor uncle Henry, works to tame a feral cat, and discovers relatives she never knew she had. Two wonderfully drawn characters, the street-smart, wary child and the brilliant, moody but loving uncle who often seems angry but not at her. The setting in a small southern town in North Carolina makes much of the nearby woods and offers constrastingly broad- and narrow-minded neighbors. The story is structured interestingly, beginning with and occasionally interrupting Zoe's 1st-person narrative with the story from the cat's point of view. And I think child readers will appreciate the homage to other classics of children's literature, and the importance that a particular book, The Boy Who Drew Cats, has in the story. I'm amused by the wide variance in reviewer opinion -- this seems to be a book you either love or hate. That should make for good discussion.

  • Laura
    2019-03-19 05:26

    4.5 stars. If I ever do write a book, it will have elements of this one. An appreciation for nature, a child in trouble that finds her way with the help of a caring adult, extended family with lots of quirks, parts of the book from the point of view of a cat, parts that make you laugh while others make you cry.....this one has it all. Not to be missed!

  • Josiah
    2019-02-24 03:04

    Though she has written a few shorter children's books in the past, Wild Things is the debut novel for Clay Carmichael, and it is an absolutely wonderful one. A reader can never be sure what to expect when encountering the work of an author previously unknown to him or her, but it took me only a few pages to recognize that the writing in this book has all the classic pace and depth of feeling that marks many of the best novels I've ever read, and often distinguishes a book as either being worthy of Newbery recognition, or at least right there in the mix as a top contender. Wild Things is such a lovely and emotionally honest story that I could have easily seen it copping a 2010 Newbery, which is high praise indeed in a year that saw Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose, Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin, The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo and Everything for a Dog by Ann M. Martin as just a few of the eligible competitors for the Newbery awards. The basic premise behind Wild Things (an orphaned girl going off to start fresh by living in a totally new place with a distant relative) is so commonly known and frequently written about in the recent history of literature that it might be easy to expect the book to fall into well-worn patterns of development, but that certainly does not turn out to be the case here. With freshness of thought and plenty of creative vigor, Clay Carmichael unfurls the beautiful story that she has so carefully wrought, imbuing the characters with realistic, vibrant personalities that will likely make a permanent impression on the reader's memory. In fact, it is more than just Zoë, the main girl in the story, and her Uncle Henry, the gruff artist that has agreed to be her legal guardian, who are so memorable in their personality traits. It seems that everyone introduced in the story is painted with carefully detailed, intricate brushstrokes, not a single character coming across as one-dimensional or unbelievable. That richness of characterization provides such an added fullness to the experience of reading the book. Zoë, at age eleven, has had mostly tough times in her life up to this point. Her mother had battled with some form of manic depressive mental illness for many years, bouncing back and forth between behavior that was either over the top or down in the dumps, but never adequately caring for Zoë no matter what her mood of the day might have been. Along with the high times came a long string of live-in boyfriends who ranged in attitude from indifferent toward Zoë to downright mean to her, and none of them were ever anything close to filling the role of the father who had run off prior to the day when Zoë was first born into the light of this world.When her mother dies, it's Zoë's Uncle Henry who steps in and offers to care of his niece. It's easy to understand why a girl in Zoë's situation would be wary of trusting yet another grownup who's supposed to be someone on whom she can depend, and their method of relating to each other doesn't develop quickly, or without definite hitches along the way. But as Zoë becomes more familiar with her Uncle, as well as their extraordinary neighbors and all the unique townsfolk who have been filling her new life with a kind of vital energy and color that she never previously knew, we begin to see genuine hope take root inside of Zoë for the first time in her life. Hope, in its truest form, is always a wonderful thing to watch grow inside of a human being, but never is that hope as pure or as valuable as when it is growing inside of a young kid. At its core, Wild Things is that kind of a story about watching hope first take root and start to grow into something special, complete with snags and the sort of inevitable bumps along the way that no life is free of entirely. Zoë may not have left the days of sadness behind her completely, but the worst that she will have to endure has already come and gone. She has a family that really cares about her now, and that's enough of a ballast to help one steer through some pretty bad storms.You can bet that whenever Clay Carmichael releases her next full-length novel, I'll be eagerly waiting to read it. I love her writing style, how it so effectively joins in theme and voice with the best books of great authors such as Katherine Paterson, Cynthia Rylant and Sharon Creech, while still remaining every bit as fresh as the premiere of a terrific new talent ought to be, opening up our minds to the expression of new thoughts and ideas while at the same time faithfully returning to the solid base of our commonly shared emotion that all of the greatest books have in common. I highly recommend Wild Things, and I would definitely consider giving it three and a half stars.

  • The Reading Countess
    2019-02-23 06:28

    Publisher's Summary: With her father long gone, spunky eleven-year-old Zoe is shuffled from relative to relative after her mother dies. The story opens as she arrives at her uncle Henry Royster's Farm outside Sugar Hill, a small Southern town.************************************************************************Zoe is a bright girl who has seen it all. Forced to care for herself due to her mother's struggles with mental illness, she is a tough nut to crack when she lands on her Uncle Henry's doorstep. At first, Henry seems ill-equipped to care for such a wounded soul. However, Henry has seen his own share of pain and knows precisely how to handle a wild thing like his niece.The novel is told in a double narrative, with a feral cat helping to lend voice to parts of the story that an eleven year old narrator would be unable to relay. Just when the reader thinks he/she knows where the story is going, Carmichael cleverly weaves in several subplots to the text that add a new dimension and difficulty. An albino deer, the deer's near-wild caretaker, and Zoe's love of writing add a layer of depth to the story that is sure to capture the imagination of even the most reluctant reader. Add to all of this the overriding theme of trust, and this novel is a surefire hit with my students.I was searching for my next read aloud when I stumbled across this title quite by accident. I have just a few genres left to cover, with fantasy being one of them. Wild Things is a different twist on the age-old thoughts about fantasy. My students are voracious readers of fantasy. A cursory glance at their reader's notebooks tells me that fantasy reigns supreme. But my readers are used to fairies, drazons or wizards making an appearance in their books. This book will surprise them. For although there are no fairies, wizards of dragons, Wild Things still makes a delightful fantasy read. I especially love that there is a lot of instructional "meat" in the book: double narrative, theme (we call this the "so-what" in our room), and subplots will be explored when we read this next genre in my class. Yes, I have made my decision on my next read aloud, and my kids will be begging for more to be read each day. Favorite passages:"...Bessie says folks are starved for beauty." (p. 49)"You know the thing that burns me most about being a kid?" I yelled at Henry when we got in the truck. "The worst thing about being a kid is that people twice my size with half my brains get to run my life." Henry sighed. "Wait till you start voting." (p. 72)After thatm only one thing made school bearable: Ms. Avery wasn't as dull as I'd thought. When I got to my desk on Monday, I found a book and a note: I think you might like this, if you haven't already read it. If you like it, I have others. E. Avery....I lived for Ms. Avery's books and for the last bell..." (p. 77)

  • Arminzerella
    2019-02-28 03:06

    When 11-year old Zoë’s mother passes away, she is taken in by her uncle, Dr. Henry Royster. Both are accustomed to being on their own – Zoë had to take care of herself because of her mom’s mental illness and poor choices, and Henry lost wife #3 and became an artist (he makes large metal sculptures) – and both are rather independent and stubborn. Like the feral cat, Mr. C’mere, that Zoë attempts to befriend, she’s a little wild and slow to trust. When Henry forces Zoë to attend school (5th grade, so she can be with her ‘peers’ and where she’s terribly, terribly bored) for the first time in her life, Zoë takes to keeping a journal – one of the assignments her sympathetic teacher gives her. She begins writing her memoir, and is furious when her classmate Hargrove steals it and uses it to find her secret cabin in the woods. Zoë has another secret, too, about the white deer (Sister) and its human shadow, Wil. When Hargrove is injured and Wil is suspected, Zoë finally has to decide whether or not to confide in Henry and the other people who she is just coming to know and love.Although Zoë is just a kid, her uncle treats her with respect and gives her a lot of leeway and lenience – he seems to understand that she needs to do things her own way, and that that way may not necessarily be wrong. It’s a delicate balancing act, because he wants to protect her and keep her safe from harm, but safety isn’t always Zoë’s priority. Zoë’s experiences with her mother have made her older and wiser beyond her years, but they’ve also made her cautious about opening up to and loving other people. She has a lot of conflicted feelings, too, which she’s working through on her own. Readers who get inside her head will fall in love with this smart, tough little girl. An extremely satisfying read with excellent, well-developed characters.It’s interesting to note that Clay Carmichael got the idea for this story from a tom cat she gentled and tamed. There are chapters from the cat’s point of view interspersed with Zoë’s observations/memoir.

  • Luann
    2019-03-24 08:21

    This book wasn't long enough! I wanted to be in this world with these characters much longer than the length of the book allowed. I found myself thinking about the story and pulling the book out to read just a bit more even when I really didn't have time to read. I immediately fell in love with the characters and ended up loving them all even more by the end. Why didn't this win a Newbery?? This should have won a Newbery! Or at least a Newbery Honor! More people need to know about and read this book. I do have a small issue with the title and the cover illustration. I think the title fits perfectly once you've read the story, but for those who haven't read the book, I think another title would be better. Although I wouldn't mind the title so much if the cover illustration was better. I like the cat on the front, but overall the cover is too dark and definitely doesn't say "read me!" At least not to me. I wanted to read this when I first heard of it (thanks to Lisa Vegan's review here on GR!), but I think I would have read it sooner with a more appealing cover illustration. Although it could just be me. I had a student put it on hold just based on the cover illustration - she hadn't read anything about the book or even seen more than just the cover.This is a definite 5-star book. I love the characters and how they relate to each other. I hope that someday Clay Carmichael takes us back into this world to let us be with these characters again. Everyone should read this book!A favorite quote:"I inhaled the musty, leathery, old-papery scent and a shiver passed over me. If I had any idea of heaven, it was this: shelves and shelves of books, ten times as many as were upstairs, each with stories or pictures more exciting and beautiful than the next, and two overstuffed chairs big enough for me to sleep in."

  • Tiffany
    2019-02-24 05:30

    It took me forever to finish this book, not because it was boring or dense...in fact, it was so vibrant and lively and thrilling that really, I didn't want it to end.Clay Carmichael did an amazing job with all of the characters in the book--from the minor characters (Padre, Harlan, the sheriff) to the major ones...she absolutely brought them all to life in an unforgettable way.Wild Things is marketed as a children's book, but it's a really great read for adults as well. Zoe's voice is refreshing and blunt and a nice dose of honesty, while Mr. C'mere enlightens us with details of the backstory. It's a lovely balance of narrative voices. Carmichael kind of makes you wish you were brave like Zoe, brazen like Zoe, a fighter like Zoe. But at the same time you know that Zoe is entirely her own person, will never be duplicated, and that's part of what makes her so endearing.The storyline is seamless, as well: it's brilliant, kindhearted; it reminds us of the beauty of being human--the little treasures in everyday happenings, the ability to make our own choices and break away from the expected path...my copy of Wild Things is all marked up with beloved passages and phrases underlined and notes scribbled in the margins...to me, this book is a masterpiece, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to readers of all ages, new and old.

  • John
    2019-03-03 11:14

    Five stars so early in the year -- these things happen.When I realized the opening narration was by the cat (later named "Mr. C'mere by Zoe*), my eyes really began to roll. After that opening gambit, Zoe's "I've been abused (neglected) so don't trust adults" cynicism didn't promise much either, but ... the story gradually expands scope to imply there's more coming. And it does, so that by the end quite a lot has changed for several people, all of whom were strangers to Zoe at first. None of them are stock, cardboard either; I can't think of one that could've been done much differently, let alone cut or conflated with another. I suppose if I were to quibble, Zoe's a bit precocious for a kid who'd barely attended school by age twelve. Moreover, the whole thing has rather a magical fairy tale quality, but ... hey ... it's fiction!Ms. Carmichael ended the story so that a sequel would work, or a spin-off of another character or two (sorry, spoiler avoidance). On the other hand, it'd be okay to let Zoe get on with things. Just not another 5 years - which was okay to get this first book just right, but I'm too interested to see what's next from the author!* "Mr. C." serves as a sort of omniscient narrator, setting the stage for Zoe's arrival, and later observing things she cannot observe directly herself.

  • katsok
    2019-03-18 07:06

    How to write a review after reading Elizabeth Bird's and just wanting to point and say, "Yes, that." I'll start with this. I read Wild Things because it is one of our state award nominees this year. I always read these nominees over the summer and just hadn't gotten around to this one yet. I knew what it was about but, like others have pointed out, thought "Do I really need to read about another orphan?" Predictable, right? Then I saw a student at the pool and I am usually impressed with his reading choices. He told me he was already through 16 of the 20 nominated books. When I asked what his favorite was so far he immediately replied, "Wild Things." So with that, I began. Somehow Carmichael takes many predictable elements to me and turns them around. Child raised pretty much on her own, check. Older relative hardened by the world but loving, check. Boy raised in the wild, check. Student in class who is a jerk, check. The thing I loved, though, was that all of these characters had so many layers. And their interactions with each other felt real.At it's heart this is a book about relationships. I devoured this book and cannot wait to recommend it to others. Thanks, Johnny, for recommending it to me.

  • Alex
    2019-02-24 09:18

    At least once or twice a year, I come across a book that is so engaging that I truly savor the reading experience, often reading slower than I normally do, to prolong my brief interaction with the characters; and for me, Wild Things just hit so many right notes. We follow two completely independent people, each battle scared and world weary, with set understandings of the world around them, and yet each of them meets the one person who locks in them the missing theme in their lives- which happens to be unchecked love. Cat, or Mr C'mere as he is later dubbed, is our narrator, dropping morsels of knowledge that outline the story without ever over stating the meaning or purpose. Zoe,who, with the passing of her mother, goes to live with her long lost uncle, has a fierce seen it all attitude that acts as her armor, and yet through the uncle's consistent presence, slowly warms and becomes whole again. Absolutely enchanting, and wonderfully written with just a hint of southern charm ala Clyde Edgerton or Nancy Peacock, Wild Things is to be enjoyed by all.

  • Oswego Public Library District
    2019-03-22 06:22

    This book is excellent, so I bought it. Or rather, I spilled coffee all over a library book ... so I bought it. But it is good in multiple ways. While I wouldn't classify it as a suspense novel, it has a page turning quality featuring a mysterious person in the woods, lost/ill old woman, Mom's old boyfriends showing up unexpectedly, and more. Two aspects I particularly like: the girl from a thoroughly dysfunctional family still comes off as smart and responsible and talented; the other aspect is that the story doesn't make any bones about the fact that some kids are simply born to dysfunctional parents. Doesn't sugarcoat it. There are pointers to mental/physical health issues, suicide, and the value of art. Ultimately this is a tale of hope. Click here to place this book on hold.

  • Melody
    2019-03-08 11:10

    Extraordinary. I had to let it simmer overnight before I could come up with anything resembling a coherent review. This is a wonderful book, and I loved it enough that I wish I hadn't read it so I could read it again for the first time.The characters are agreeably prickly, including the feral old cat who is deeply suspicious of people. The passages narrated by the cat are maybe just a little hokey, but I loved 'em anyway. In my opinion, the descriptions of what it's like to be an artist are dead on. The plot is taut, the coincidences and climaxes not so far out as to be surreal, the characters' growth is believable and heartwarming. And did I mention the cat? And the passing but suitably loving mention of favorite characters from classic kid-lit? (Which reminds me, I need to find out who Opal Buloni is- she's the only one I didn't recognize.)I want to read it again, right away. I can't remember how long it's been since I had that reaction to a middle-grade book.

  • Virginia Messina
    2019-02-23 09:06

    I loved all of the “wild things,” in this book but especially Zoe and Mr. C’Mere, both of whom had been treated poorly by life and couldn’t imagine that they’d ever trust humans. Generally, I dislike stories told from an animal’s point of view, but Mr. C sounded absolutely right to me—just the way I imagine an old feral cat to think—and I found myself looking forward to his observations more than I would have anticipated. Funny, sad, heartwarming—and great story-telling, too. I was a little tempted to give this 4 stars because it didn’t move me to quite the same degree as several recent books by my new favorite kidlit author Deborah Wiles. But it’s a difference of just a sliver of a star, really. It looks like there is a sequel on the way, which is great news.

  • Maia Ciambriello
    2019-03-07 11:29

    Sadly, I didn't finish this book in time to get extra credit. But that's okay. I was reading this book and I realized it wasn't really my forte. I didn't really understand the characters and the narrator. A few parts of this book kept me reading, but overall, this was not one of my favorite books. I feel like the plot was slow and I kept zoning out while I was reading. Although, I did enjoy some parts of this book. For example, I liked hearing about the cat in this story and learning the lesson the author was trying to give the reader. If you can sit tight through some boring parts, then you can read this book without a problem!

  • Katie
    2019-03-15 06:16

    I love this book! When I first got it, I thought it might be a bit young for me...but I really got into the story line and loved how there were different characters coming in throughout the story and the connections were slowly revealed. The lead character, Zoe, is a mature young girl who doesn't trust adults and has been practically raising herself. When her mother passes, she goes to live with her uncle, the brother of a father she never knew. I don't want to give away any of the story, but definitely a good read and easy to get through. Carmichael's writing style flowed nicely and made you want to keep reading...I was sad when it ended!

  • Helen
    2019-03-08 06:16

    This is one of next year's William Allen White's books and I read it to do a book talk. I really liked this one, especially the main characters, although there are several aspects that might be problems for elementary school. Zoe is the main character and her parents weren't married. Her father was a drunk and her mother was insane and eventually committed suicide. So Zoe goes to live with her Uncle Henry who she has never met before. But there she finds a home and eventually adjusts just like the wild cat she tries to tame.

  • Judy Desetti
    2019-03-21 08:07

    I really enjoyed this read. Started it as an audio book but finished by reading the novel. I enjoyed the viewpoint of the cat interspersed in the story giving another perspective and dimension to the story. The cat was able to fill in the background of several points, Other reviews mention that they had a difficult time accepting some of the characters. I admit there are some details which are not totally realistic, but I am willing to believe in the magic of stories and that anything is possible in a story. This is one to pick up and read!

  • Bobby Simic
    2019-03-14 03:03

    Orphaned 11-year-old Zoe goes to live with her unknown half-uncle, who's a famous doctor and sculptor but who's often distant. Eventually fighting her survival insticts, Zoe soon learns to open herself up to people, and, in turn, develops a strong bond with her uncle and his circle of trusted friends.This one's a bit unwieldy. Too many characters, plot points, and loose threads threaten to derail this. But the protagonist and writing are so good and its heart is in the right place, that all sins are forgiven.

  • Jamie
    2019-02-27 03:23

    I felt as if this book had some examples of really good writing, as well as some adorable drawings of Mr. C'mere in the cat chapters.This may be an example of where my copious reading hinders my enjoyment, as I felt it compared unfavorably to "daugher of crazy Mom" books Waiting for Normal and What I Call Life. And like many middle grade books, I occasionally felt that the writing did a disservice, as I was very aware I was reading a book rather than being immersed in a story. Does anyone know what I mean by this?

  • Jess
    2019-03-11 11:08

    I won this book (yay! I love goodreads giveaways!) and I'm glad I did. It was an engaging and heartwarming story about a young girl whose crazy mother has just died and so she goes to live with her heart surgeon/artist uncle. Throw in a cat who narrates and a wild teenage boy who can't read or write and you've got yourself a keeper. But seriously, it was still a good book. I got this book for free from Goodreads first-reads... yay!

  • Rosalynn Reads Stuff
    2019-03-09 07:30

    I was honestly a bit bored in the beginning and felt the plot was slow in some parts. When I got the the exciting pieces, though, I like the storyline and characters. This book (to me at least) seems a bit insignificant compared the the literature I've read this year. The part of the book I really liked was actually the "about the author" section. I liked how much she allowed herself to relate to the story to make it more realistic.

  • Carrie
    2019-03-09 08:05

    Wonderful. Reminiscent of books from my childhood, the ones I loved and remembered, about an orphan finding a home and family. And alternating chapters are told from the point of view of a feral cat, which sounds gimicky, but wasn't at all. No profanity, not uncomfortable subject matters, just a nice sweet story, but not told in a pollyanna fashion. I am looking forward to this author's next book already (comes out in 2013).