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This is the first book by Ele Fountain I have read and wow I have really been missing out! 'Wild' is a powerful, compassionate story about overcoming grief and learning from mistakes, set against the dangerous backdrop of the rainforest. Like street art, Ele Fountain's writing is vibrant and raw, controlled and authentic. This is really accomplished, sharp and engaging storytelling. Up there with one of my best books of this year so far!

Ever since Jack's dad died, he's had a heavy feeling inside...  As Jack spins out of control, his anthropologist mum eventually becomes concerned - and shocks him by suggesting a trip together. But this will be no relaxing holiday. Soon Jack finds himself on an expedition deep into the rainforest, far from anything he's ever known. He wanted an adventure - but has he plunged into real danger?

'Wild' would be great to read aloud to Upper Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 children as Jack's voice comes through loud and clear: real, emotive without being overly-sentimental, and wise while retaining an innocence and vulnerability that endears. As his crisis builds at home, the tension between Jack's inner grief, his depression, and his outer, troubled behaviour is realised thoughtfully and authentically. The shift in setting to the rainforest is then an utterly absorbing and vivid contrast. And Jack's courageous transformation here is wonderful to read: his blossoming friendship with Pakoyai, his changing awareness of himself in the context of the dangers and crisis of the rainforest, and the understanding of his mum's life and bravery. Jack's 'hero's journey' is wild and messy and real, in all the best ways possible. It's hugely inspiring but somehow subtle and gentle too. 

I really will be checking out more of Ele Fountain's books! Fantastic!

Thank you to Pushkin Press for my copy to review.

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