The Wild Girls by Phoebe Morgan

I’ve read all of Morgan’s books and yet somehow, this latest one took me by surprise. I thought I knew what to expect, but this fast-paced thriller was edgy, dark and genuinely spooked me at moments.

In a luxury lodge on Botswana’s sun-soaked plains, four friends reunite for a birthday celebration…
Has it all, but chose love over her friends…
Feels the walls of her flat and classroom closing in…
Loves her baby, but desperately needs a break…
Yearns for adventure after suffering for too long…
Arriving at the safari lodge, a feeling of unease settles over them. There’s no sign of the party that was promised. There’s no phone signal. They’re alone, in the wild.

Morgan’s writing of the setting is honestly brilliant – I could almost feel the heat of the sun on my face, the descriptions were so vivid. The choice to write this book in another country entirely was an inspired choice. It’s different to her previous books, but it was also exactly what I wanted to read right now, when we’re stuck inside during lockdown. I was desperate for escapism, and this book definitely provided that. The moments that chilled me the most were the times when Morgan really played up the isolated and unpredictable nature of the plains, when I myself felt worried that something (or someone…) could leap out at them at any time.

The characters themselves were great – I have always loved books that provide multiple perspectives, and Morgan did this really well. Each character was so well-written, I felt like I understood all of them. Grace’s nerves and trauma, Hannah’s caring nature yet sense of claustrophobia, Alice’s annoyance and frustration – they were all excellent. What I liked however, was that each character held a bit of intrigue still, as slowly Morgan starts to hint at some past event that the reader doesn’t know about. The reveal was tantalisingly slow, in the best way, as I found myself unable to put the book down and desperate to find out more.

The ending is pretty explosive! It really builds, using the setting perfectly again, and building on all the themes of isolation, frustration, and desperation that have been building throughout. I was also left guessing at the true motives behind it all until the very last page, with Morgan keeping me hooked right until the end.

This is one of the books that is bound to keep everyone guessing and hooked throughout, with brilliantly written characters and a setting that enhances all the themes of the book throughout.

The Wild Girls
Phoebe Morgan
HQ, 29 April 2021

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