"It was the wild or nothing."
"Because we need trees to breathe?"
"Yeah, but more than than that." ... You just need it. The wild. You need to know it's there.
Nicola Penfold's magnificent 'Where the World turns Wild' is a timely and powerful story of relationships. Relationships between humans and nature, and between humans and themselves. Gorgeous, gripping and with an unnerving sense of the prophetic, Penfold's debut has to be one of the books of the year.
Juniper and her little brother Bear must escape the confines of their city. No-one is allowed out and nothing of nature is allowed in, as a disease ravages their world. But the siblings are lucky: they are immune. As they escape across the buffer zone, chased by drones, what will they discover across the wild?
When I started 'Where the World turns World' I was startled by how close to reality the story seems. Climate change. Disease. Lockdowns. Immediately I wondered who this Nicola Penfold is to have crafted something so close to the bone, so dazzlingly prophetic. What starts as a dystopian nightmare of 1984 proportions quickly accelerates into a thrilling adventure back into nature. The transition from the city to the wild is edge-of-your-seat stuff, while Juniper and Bear's journey through the woods is addictive reading of the highest calibre. A survival tale brimming with beauty. An ode to nature.
Juniper and Bear are wonderful characters to follow too. As much as the book is about humans relationship to nature, it is also about the importance of kindness, love and bravery between each other. And because of this there is a huge message of hope. I didn't have any idea where the narrative would go, but the ending is one that will certainly stay with me for quite a while.
'Where the World turns Wild' is frightening, bleak but ultimately beautiful and uplifting. The wild: "you need to know it's there." This will remind you. An adventure not to miss. Nicola Penfold is one to watch!