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Extended Audio Sample Wild Girls: A Novel Audiobook, by Mary Stewart Atwell Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (210 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mary Stewart Atwell Narrator: Shannon McManus Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2012 ISBN: 9781469249902
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Kate Riordan fears two things as she grows up in the small Appalachian town of Swan River: that she’ll be a frustrated townie forever or that she’ll turn into one of the mysterious and terrifying wild girls, killers who start fires and menace the community. Struggling to better her chances of escaping, Kate attends the posh Swan River Academy and finds herself divided between her hometown — and its dark history — and the realm of privilege and achievement at the Academy. Explosive friendships with Mason, a boy from the wrong side of town, and Willow, a wealthy and popular queen bee from school, are slowly pulling her apart. Kate must decide who she is and where she belongs before she wakes up with cinders at her fingertips. Mary Stewart Atwell has written a novel that is at once funny and wise and stunningly inventive. Her wild girls are strange and fascinating creatures — a brilliant twist on the anger teenage girls can feel at their powerlessness — and a promise of the great things to come from this young writer. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Atwell has written a fantastic hybrid, part horror story and part bildungsroman: an elegy to the midnight selves that girls try to destroy, overcome, ‘outgrow’ on the way to adulthood, and a testament to their uncanny resilience.”

    Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!

  • “Atwell has imbued Wild Girls with wit, humor and sometimes startling atmosphere. She makes Kate sympathetic and the tensions in her life believable.”

  • “First-time novelist Atwell deftly mixes things up. Kate is a mature narrator whose sense of fairness and responsibility holds at bay the usual tensions over cliques, bullying, and competitive nastiness until an explosive episode of demonic possession targets the whole town.”

    Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nicole | 2/5/2014

    " I really wanted to like this book, and I was so disappointed. I felt like there was just so much missing, it was predictable, and the ending left a lot of unanswered questions. The author, I think, writes short stories, maybe she should have stuck with keeping it a short story... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kerri | 1/31/2014

    " This wasn't marked young adult but that's what it is, something you would see on the CW right after Gossip Girl. Not my cup of tea. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Natalie | 1/27/2014

    " I really, really wanted to like this book. A "magical realism" book about girl power set in Appalachia and blurbed by Karen Russell? Yes, please. Unfortunately, this book fell short in just about every way I can think of and I'm wondering if I need to re-think my trust in Russell. I think that all the components were there to make this an awesome book, but the writing just didn't come through. Most of the main events happened so quickly and were so easily brushed by that it didn't even appear as though they were important (for example, Mason's suicide happened so quickly and garnered so little attention, that I kept expecting him to pop back up). Another example, Kate's hair cut, which I guess should have been a big deal, but didn't play any real role in the actual story. And then there were all the things that happened that didn't really seem to matter at all. Why did Kate lose her virginity to Mason? (I mean, I know why the person Kate would have, but why was that relevant to the story?) A few more issues: I never could get a good grip on where this was meant to be set. Swan River, yes, yes, but where? Not Tennessee, but south of Tennessee, so maybe North Carolina? Georgia? I don't know. There were deltas, but also mountains (and also a fancy private school inexplicably in the middle of this dying town). The fact that the town was dying was repeated, over and over, but there was no real answer other than that there was some bad juju going on there. This is such a missed opportunity, and actually a little insulting to those of us who do live in Appalachia, witness the poverty everyday, and know that there are very real and important reasons why towns like this are in trouble. I thought, for a moment, there was maybe a glimmer of hope when Maggie talked about becoming mayor to help Swan River, but then at the end, she'd given up on that dream and they'd all just left (as did the narrator, who apparently never wanted to return, even though Clancy was apparently pining for her). Also, the very real environmental issues mentioned in the book were so glossed over that I don't think most readers would even give them a second look. Again, I think that this could have been a great book; unfortunately, it wasn't even a very good one. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Stephanie | 1/24/2014

    " Meh. This one could have been better. An interesting idea, but kind of all over the place. Plus, it had an epilogue, which I am not really into. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Seanna | 1/17/2014

    " I absolutely loved this book. The writing gripped me from page one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dee at EditorialEyes | 1/9/2014

    " Review to come at EditorialEyes Book Blog "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nora | 12/22/2013

    " Interesting read. Not a true page turner but it kept my interest. I would recommend. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leila Cohan-Miccio | 12/21/2013

    " Comes in just below So Much Pretty in the Overplaying Your Hand Awards of 2012. I saw the end coming about 20 pages in, so. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 LB | 11/19/2013

    " Angry teen girls in an Appalachian boarding school who can fly and start fires by touch? Count me in! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 11/2/2013

    " I think a 3.5 rating is probably more appropriate, but I didn't really love the ending. A quick, fun, ya read though... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kerry Cullen | 10/31/2013

    " Marvelous concept, unsteady telling. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicole | 10/21/2013

    " I am not sure what to think of this book. I am left with mixed feelings. All I can say for sure is that the cover does NOT fit the atmosphere and tone of the novel at all. It's way darker and could probably be classified as adult rather than YA fiction even though the protagonists are teenage girls. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stacey | 7/6/2013

    " Ok book, hard to follow at times. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Japorter2 | 4/9/2013

    " Very uneven, with an unsatisfying ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patricia Geller | 4/9/2013

    " A very odd book about a small town and small girl's school in Appalachia. Full of magic, myth, emotion, and well written. A fun read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Doug Burris | 3/25/2013

    " Loved it from the first page. Certainly related to the characters being from Southwestern Virginia. Leaves you with that 'wow' feeling. Great reading for men or women. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauren | 3/24/2013

    " The girls of Swan River aren't just wild - they're murderous! Mary Stewart Atwell's debut novel is more than your average coming-of-age story: it's dark and creepy and fantastic - I'll definitely be keeping my eye on this author! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Debbie Carmichael | 3/16/2013

    " An interesting read. The storyline was unique and the tension kept building throughout. The ending was disappointing, however. I'm not a fan of the main character. A little too melodramatic for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tan | 10/13/2012

    " good.. kept me reading for hours, but could have been a bit better. reminded of Fallen. Definitely should be YA, not adult "

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About the Author
Mary Stewart Atwell's short fiction has appeared in Best New American Voices and The Best American Mystery Stories. She grew up in southwest Virginia and now lives in Missouri.
About the Narrator

Shannon McManus, award-winning narrator, is a Los Angeles–based actor, writer, and voice artist. Her natural vocal abilities and extensive theater training have led to work in audiobook narration, commercial voice-over, and animation. Critical praise includes an Audiofile Earphones Award and a Publishers Weekly Listen Up! Award in children’s and young adult fiction.