The Wild Inside

The Wild Inside

A promising talent makes her electrifying debut with this unforgettable novel, set in the Alaskan wilderness, that is a fusion of psychological thriller and coming-of-age tale in the vein of Jennifer McMahon, Chris Bohjalian, and Mary Kubica.A natural born trapper and hunter raised in the Alaskan wilderness, Tracy Petrikoff spends her days tracking animals and running with...

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Title:The Wild Inside
Author:Jamey Bradbury
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Wild Inside Reviews

  • Will Byrnes

    In the great north, snow and isolation can hide a world of secrets, but some will still bleed through.

    Being a badass has certain advantages, particularly when one spends so much time in the Alaskan woods. It’s maybe not always an advantage in places with fewer trees, like school. Tracy Sue Petricoff is seventeen. She can handle herself in the wild. But she is not yet able to handle the wild in herself. You might even see her as half-feral. Her latest attack on a classmate, however justified it might have been, has resulted in her being cast out of the more structured world of public education, and left her to the somewhat less restrictive environment of home. Of course, home has not been an entirely safe place for her either.

    - from her site

    Her mother had died when Tracy was fifteen, hit by a car while walking on the side of the road near their home. This left a huge gap in Tracy’s upbringing, as mom was the person who knew her best, who had taught her to recognize animal tracks, who had taught her to identify plants and their uses, and who truly understood her innermost self, an unspoken family legacy that is both a gift and a curse. Her father, Bill, a good man, a regular contender in the annual Iditarod, was rocked by his wife’s death, lost his focus, struggled to cope, but is trying his best to be mother and father to Tracy and her younger brother, Scott. This includes rules, but Tracy reacts to rules like a bear might to a trap. Her mother gave her one cardinal rule. Never make another person bleed. Sorry, Mom.

    Returning home from the woods one night a large man slams into her. In the ensuing tussle, she is tossed hard enough against a tree that she loses consciousness. On waking she finds there is blood on her knife, and a trail where the man had gone. Her memory of the event is fuzzy. Did she cut the man? Why had they crossed paths? She tries to put it out of her mind, but when neighbors report an intruder having stayed in their cabin, and her father comes to the aid of a bleeding man emerging from the woods, she wonders if this is the man she had encountered, and will he be coming back, for her.

    is a riveting, genre-bending coming-of-age/thriller/mystery/horror novel with a dose of fantasy and a touch of romance. Tracy would like nothing more than to be left to her devices, hunting, setting traps, retrieving what she catches for food and fur and racing with her dogs. Her personal receiver is tuned to the call of the wild, as she feels a particular affinity with the animals of the forest, can perceive and interpret sounds, smells, and sights that most will overlook. She is as much a creature of the woods as she is a civilized human being. I was very much reminded of the character Turtle from

    , in her toughness and feel for the natural, not that other stuff. She is a woodland detective, as skilled as Sherlock Holmes at spotting clues, but with the nose of a hound and the night vision of an owl. And she is determined to unravel the mystery of her forest fracas. For reasons of her own, Tracy does not tell her father about her unfortunate encounter. (What a tangled web we weave) The secrets involved with that event lock her into a series of lies that make her life much more complicated than it needs to be, with tragic results.

    Image is from the author’s site

    More complications ensue when dad hires a young drifter to help out. Bill trains dogs, has forty doghouses and a kennel on the property. That is a lot of shoveling, and other chores as well. As he takes on outside work in addition to bring in enough to provide for his family, Bill could sure use the help. How much do they really know about Jesse Goodwin, who seems to be particularly adept at gaining Bill’s trust? Can Jesse be trusted? There is something

    about the new hired hand, an odd sort, whose CV does not always hold up to close, or even routine scrutiny. Trying to figure out the mystery of Jesse is part of the fun of the book. The tension of wondering if/when the mysterious man from the forest will return and wondering what he will want is another. The boogeyman just outside the frame is a device that works well to sustain the tension level.

    The Iditarod features large in this landscape, Dad having been a regular contestant, Tracy having competed in the Junior Iditarod, with her final Junior race and the full-on Mush-mania, for which she will be eligible for the first time, both on a near horizon. Tracy loves to race dogs as much as she loves to run, to hunt, and to breathe in the fullness of the woods. It provides motivation for some of her decision-making, both the good and bad sorts. Although she is basically a good person, she is no paragon. In fact, she can be a pretty self-involved teenager and if you count on her to always do the right thing, your totals will be off. There is a dramatic, dark twist near the end that some readers will find discomfiting. I thought it made sense under the circumstances, and how Tracy handles it is consistent with what we have seen of her up to then. It’s a pretty daring move by Bradbury to steer her tale in that direction. Whether you approve or not, it will definitely jangle your senses, and makes for an outside-the-box ending.

    There was one item in the story that jangled

    senses a bit. I did not understand how Tracy thought she could get away with paying substantial entry fees for races without having a well-prepared explanation for how she got the money. A solution is found later but Tracy’s presumption seemed a bit much, even for a teenager. In another instance. I thought it a stretch that one character was far too ready to try

    with another who had already confessed to some pretty dire deeds. A more reasonable range of choices would seem to be either lock and load or stay the hell away.

    Image is from the author’s site

    Bradbury’s love for the landscape comes through loud and clear (and, I expect, played a role in her decision to live in Anchorage for the last fifteen years, having been born and raised in Illinois) in her lyrical, beautiful writing. The cold, the woods, the severe beauty of the landscape all serve as a wonderful backdrop for and echo of the harsh challenges Tracy faces.

    Tracy Sue Petricoff’s physical DNA is known, but if I were checking her literary DNA markers, I would be looking for signs of Mowgli, John Clayton, and Katniss Everdeen. Jamey Bradbury’s freshman novel is a triumph, a coming of age tale set in the borderlands, interior and exterior, where the wild meets the world. Her struggle to understand and gain some control over the urges she experiences makes her relatable, even though

    adjustments might not have been so daunting. It is riveting, tear-inducing, and jolts through such sudden turns that you will need to make sure your feet are firmly planted on your sled, and your team is exceptionally well-trained. You would hate to tumble and be left behind. This is one ride you will want to mush through to the end.

    Review posted – January 26, 2018

    Published – March 20, 2018

    =============================

    Links to the author’s

    ,

    ,

    and

    pages

    Here is extra material that did not make it into the final version of the book

    - from Bradbury’s site

    Bradbury works as a freelance writer. Here is a stack of her writings for the

    The author reading an early excerpt from the book at a

    on May 15th 2011

    , a collection of short stories, was submitted as Bradbury’s 2009 MFA thesis

    ===============================

    I sent Jamey Bradbury a message inquiring into whether she would be up for answering a few questions. She was extremely gracious, and, as you will see, very forthcoming.

    JB - The biggest change between early drafts of the book and what readers will see was the structure of the book. The Wild Inside was inspired, in part, by a 1961 horror novel by Theodore Sturgeon called Some of Your Blood; the book is told piecemeal by a colonel, a military psychiatrist, and their patient, called George, who writes his own story in the form of a journal. I structured The Wild Inside similarly, with early chapters dedicated to a grown-up Scott seeing some of his sister, Tracy’s, behavior playing out in his own daughter. I threw in some epistolary storytelling in the form of letters between Bill and Scott. And finally, Tracy got her say in the form of her own journal, which she wrote at the encouragement of a school guidance counselor.

    Ultimately, though, after feedback from some early readers and after getting to know Tracy—who says things in her own very distinctive and determined way—I realized this was a girl who didn’t need any help telling her own story. Her story was hers, and everything was someone else’s interpretation. So I let Tracy take the reins.

    JB - In addition to being a fiction writer, I also have a full-time job:  I write copy and do storytelling for an Alaska Native nonprofit social services organization. That means, in order to get any fiction done, I have to deliberately set aside time for it—and it can’t just be any old time because after spending eight hours of my day at a computer, the last thing I want to do when I come home is stare at a glowing screen for another couple hours. So I get my fiction writing done first thing. I keep what my friends lovingly refer to as “grandma Jamey hours”—I often go to bed around 8:00, 8:30 so I can get up around five a.m., guzzle some coffee, squint at my email, then get writing. I don’t have a target number of words or pages; some days I struggle to get through a single scene, others I fly through a dozen pages of revision. But I work a pretty solid two hours more most mornings before it’s time to shower and join the world.

     

    JB - All I can say is thank Our Lord Steve Jobs for the iPhone, which I started taking with me when I was training for my first marathon and realized it might be nice to be able to listen to music, not to mention be able to call for help if I twisted an ankle or got mugged. The added bonus is that whenever I get those random ideas and have those “aha!” moments—which always seem to come as soon as I hit my stride—I can text myself. Usually I’ll stop to stretch and type out a text, but sometimes I use the voice function and get texts from myself that look like, “Railroad GASP getaway WHEEZE car…”

    JB - How to say this without spoiling things? There’s a particular mistake Tracy makes at one point that I didn’t see coming for a long time. Once I realized that she was going to make this mistake, though, my heart broke. I didn’t want to write the scene, I didn’t want to go through the fallout the characters would experience afterward. Some scenes are technically hard; it’s difficult to get the mechanics of the plot working. Others are hard because you can’t find the right words. But this one was emotionally hard:  I was wrecked, working on it. But it also afforded me an opportunity to write what would become one of my favorite parts of the book—a glimpse into the life and history of a character readers wouldn’t have otherwise gotten to know in that particular way.

    JB - Figuring out what, exactly, the history of two characters was before they appear in the book was one of the more irksome elements I had to work through. Partly because the relationship had to be both loving and antagonistic, and also because that part of the relationship would be revealed by a third party, in an unconventional way. Boy, trying not to spoil things has me feeling like Tracy!—as she says, some things you just don’t talk about, except to talk around them.

    JB - By the time I got to the ending, it kind of wrote itself. The way I write, I rewrite and rewrite and rewrite the first part of the book, gradually getting to know my characters as I rework the same material over and over. By the time I get to the last third or quarter of the book, the writing actually gets easier—and, with this book, the momentum of the plot, and the way Tracy’s mind works, kind of pointed the way toward the ending.

    JB - At a post-reading party at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, where I got my MFA, my workshop teacher, Craig Nova, came up to me and said, “My friend John Irving is looking for a new assistant. He lives in Vermont. I thought you’d be a good candidate, since you’ve lived in Alaska and you know how to drive in the snow.” A few weeks later, I flew to Vermont from Greensboro to interview with John and his wife, Janet. And at the end of that summer, I moved to Vermont to be John Irving’s assistant.

    Working for John was a little like winning a spot at a very exclusive writing fellowship. I worked at an office in his home, and I did a good amount of your typical office work—answering phones, talking to his publisher, opening mail, filing contracts. But the bulk of my day was dedicated to typing up the pages of the manuscript he was working on at the time, the novel that would be titled

    . John still writes mostly by hand, so I would update a computer file on my Mac every day with his new pages.

    It was a firsthand look at the daily life of a working writer, his habits, and his way of writing a first draft and revising. One writer’s method doesn’t necessarily work for another, but I learned a lot watching him work through plot and character development. Plus, I got great insight into the process of publishing a book, thanks to working with John’s editor, copyeditor, publicist, and others.

    The other part of the experience that was incredibly valuable was my own writing time. Whenever I didn’t have stuff to do from John, I was able to work on my own fiction; in fact, I started The Wild Inside while still working for him. Once I got a first draft done, John was gracious enough to take a look and give me feedback that helped me tremendously (as did Craig, the teacher who referred me).

    JB - The earliest idea for The Wild Inside was an image:  a house, its windows lit against the heart of Alaska’s winter darkness, at the edge of a wood. I knew that inside that house, there were two men—brothers? a father and a son?—waiting for a third person to come home. Whoever that third person was, though, I knew she wasn’t coming home soon. How did I know this? Why wasn’t she coming back? I had no idea, but the image intrigued me enough that my mind kept chewing on it for months—more than a year—before I finally sat down to write what would eventually become Tracy’s story.

    JB - I don't have a pooch, so I named a lot of the dogs after my friends’ dogs. Zip and Stella are named after two real-life pooches I regularly dog-sat for (the real Zip, sadly, died a few years ago; the real Stella is my dog soulmate and if I could steal her from her owners, I would). I went on a sailing trip with the real-life Homer and Canyon and their owners. I had a lot of fun just coming up with other dog names. Here’s a fun fact:  Some mushers will give litters of dogs theme names, so they’ll have the “famous authors” litter, or like musher and writer Blair Braverman, the “bean” litter (including dogs named Fava, Hari(cot), and Refried). So Tracy’s dogs include a “bear” litter (Panda, Grizzly, Teddy) and a “words that convey movement” litter (Chug, Zip, Flash, Pogo). Old Susitna, though, is named for my favorite mountain visible from Anchorage:  Susitna, the “Sleeping Lady.”

    (continued in first comment below)

  • Asheley

    I wish I could adequately put words to how much I truly love

    . I have dreamed of Alaska my entire life: visiting there, living there, experiencing the wilderness in a way that I just haven't been able to yet. But when I opened this book and started reading Tracy Sue Petrikoff's story, I was as close as I have ever gotten.

    Minus a few things.

    Tracy is a little bit of a strange one. She is a teenager living with her father and brot

    I wish I could adequately put words to how much I truly love

    . I have dreamed of Alaska my entire life: visiting there, living there, experiencing the wilderness in a way that I just haven't been able to yet. But when I opened this book and started reading Tracy Sue Petrikoff's story, I was as close as I have ever gotten.

    Minus a few things.

    Tracy is a little bit of a strange one. She is a teenager living with her father and brother outside of a small Alaskan village, basically in the Alaskan wilderness. Her entire life is the outdoors: hunting, trapping, her dogs. She loves racing them and dreams of competing in the Iditarod like her father. The problem is, money, because the entry fee is expensive, and the strange issues with a man they call Tom Hatch.

    Tracy met Tom in the woods one day. Not on purpose; she literally stumbled upon him. This was really weird since she typically goes days, weeks, sometimes months without seeing a single soul out there. But out of the woods Tom came one day, sort of flinging himself onto her body, which caused Tracy to fly into a tree and black out from the force of the hit. When she woke up, her knife was bloody and there was a bloody trail leading back into the  trees. It is possible-even likely-that Tracy stabbed Tom Hatch in self defense. But why doesn't she remember it? And where is he now?

    HERE'S THE THING: Tracy never tells her Dad about this encounter in the woods, which is such a bad idea. Because it starts a mighty cascade of events that honestly never seems to end for her. One thing after another happens that causes one lie after another lie, and every unfortunate thing seems connected in some way or another. But is it? I felt like everything would be connected, but I wasn't sure

    how. And above everything is Tracy's dream of racing her dogs. With her safety and the safety of her entire family at stake (because of Tom!), Tracy has to seriously consider whether or not she will continue with the race.

    FIRST OF ALL: Holy cow, Tracy Sue Petrikoff is a hell of a character. I love her. Which is interesting, because I'm not entirely sure that I'm supposed to love her? She is wildly different than any other person around her, so there is no practical chance for her connect with other people in any real way. Not really. Also, she is grieving her mother's death in the most intense way possible, and this drew me to her. Her mother was the only person she felt connected to, and now she is gone. And in her absence, Tracy realizes that she truly didn't know her mother as well as she thought, which is always such a heartbreaking thing. I wanted to reach through the book and just hug her so tightly.

    But Tracy held everyone at arm's length. She has her reasons for this, and MAN they are crazy and appropriate.

     This girl is almost feral. She is nearly wild. Her father barely knows what to do with her most of the time, but he loves her fiercely. I think many readers may find themselves completely aghast at Tracy and her behaviors, but I really felt myself endeared to her overall. Her behaviors and the way she was raised are not her fault, you see, and I found that if I just read the story from her point of view, she was super interesting.

    There are other characters in here that add to the story. An interesting crowd. There are some things that come up in the narrative that I wasn't expecting at all. So many things happened that made me talk out loud to these characters and try to will them to change their minds or change their courses of action, but alas that was not to be. I was particularly moved by Tracy's father in his effort to just be a Dad, living in a harsh place and also living in the in-between a place of grief after losing his wife and his hope for a new possible relationship. I love the awkwardness of his interaction with Tracy, how he tries so hard but still just doesn't really know how to reach his grieving, teenage daughter, and vice versa with her; they're both stuck in such a difficult place.

    is so beautifully written. I just cannot believe some of the passages on the inside-I marked so many of them. I read chapters, and then I read them again. And I marked sentences and whole paragraphs because I felt transported by them. And then suddenly, on the next page: I cringed at something a little gross or weird!

    The author's use of setting clearly is taken from her living in Alaska and I love it. I love it so much that I was in tears at the end of the book. I don't know-maybe you'll feel the same way. But I could barely speak by the time I got to the end. I just-

    I have to own this book in every format. I have to listen to the audiobook, because I need to hear Tracy speak in her not-at-all-correct way of speaking. I need to hear her thought processes out loud. This is like a coming-of-age of a girl that is not at all someone that normal society would deem appropriate or okay, but that I have a lot of empathy for. I found a ton of beauty in this story and in the language that was used to build it, which was interesting to me given its horror/thriller categorization by other readers. I'm not entirely sure this review is cohesive because I struggle a little bit with organizing my thoughts. Just know that this is my favorite book this year so far. This will take a coveted spot on my top shelf. I have literally sat here clutching this book as I read for the past few days, enamored, white-knuckled, and I am already ready for so much more from Jamey Bradbury.

    Find this review and more like it on my blog,

    !

  • Kim McGee

    Tracy has always felt better outside in the Alaskan wilderness than indoors in the cabin. She can hunt and survive just about anything except denying the hunger inside her. Her mom understands this strange affliction of her daughter's and tries to help Tracy by giving her simple rules to live by. The most important being - never make a human bleed. After Tracy is attacked in the woods she thinks she almost killed the stranger who attacked her and now fears his return. Then there are these new fe

    Tracy has always felt better outside in the Alaskan wilderness than indoors in the cabin. She can hunt and survive just about anything except denying the hunger inside her. Her mom understands this strange affliction of her daughter's and tries to help Tracy by giving her simple rules to live by. The most important being - never make a human bleed. After Tracy is attacked in the woods she thinks she almost killed the stranger who attacked her and now fears his return. Then there are these new feelings toward Jesse the curious young drifter who her dad has hired and her ambitions to compete in the Junior Iditarod. This glorious hybrid is a combination of the wild beauty of Alaska, the harsh landscape and lifestyle of the people who live there and a bit of supernatural hyper-awareness that Tracy feels after succumbing to the hunger and filling the need for blood. This coming of age story in an unforgiving land will stay with you well after the last page. My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.

  • Brenda

    Brief review to be revealed soon.

  • Jessica

    Thanks to William Morrow and TLC Book Tours for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review. Check out my blog for more about the author!

    I love when thrillers and mystery novels dive into topics and lifestyles that I know very little about. In THE WILD INSIDE, Jamey Bradbury's knowledge on the topics shines through. She places you right in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness, having never been there myself, I felt like I was there.

    Tracy Petrikoff is a natural born trapper and hunter. She

    Thanks to William Morrow and TLC Book Tours for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review. Check out my blog for more about the author!

    I love when thrillers and mystery novels dive into topics and lifestyles that I know very little about. In THE WILD INSIDE, Jamey Bradbury's knowledge on the topics shines through. She places you right in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness, having never been there myself, I felt like I was there.

    Tracy Petrikoff is a natural born trapper and hunter. She spends her days running her dogs and tracking animals in the Alaskan wilderness. Tracy always follows her late mother's rules:

    Never lose sight of the house

    Never come home with dirty hands

    Never make a person bleed - the most important one

    All of this changes when Tracy is viciously attacked in the woods by a man. She is knocked unconscious and when she comes to she has little memory of what happened. She notices a man coming towards her from the trees and she notices that he is gravely injured from a knife wound that resembles her hunting knife. Did he attack her? Did she almost kill him? And why is he vaguely familiar to her?

    Meanwhile, she is preoccupied with helping her father cope with her mother's death and preparing for the Iditarod (a big dog sledding race). Enter Jesse Goodwin, a man looking for a job - Tracy can't put her finger on it, but something doesn't seem right about him.

    There was a lot of good suspense to this book. The fact that Tracy didn't share with her dad about her attack added a layer of tension. How can she share her worries about Jesse without telling her dad about what happened in the woods? I loved the characters and the setting. This was a very atmospheric novel and with it all taking place in the woods around her home there was a small claustrophobic feeling. If you aren't a fan of stories that don't quite answer ALL your questions then it might be a little frustrating for you, but overall, I did like the ending.

    I give this debut a solid 4/5 stars!

  • ashley | citygirlscapes

    Originally posted on

    .

    I’m inevitably drawn to books about the wild, nature, wolves and the like. The Wild Inside by Jamey Bradbury spoke to me before I even knew what the book was about. It sounded like a mix of a few different genres, so I really didn’t know what I was getting into.

    The voice in this book takes a bit getting used to; at first it was a bit dominating and overwhelmed the rest of the story. But it’s also a vital component of the character and it does, somewhat, g

    Originally posted on

    .

    I’m inevitably drawn to books about the wild, nature, wolves and the like. The Wild Inside by Jamey Bradbury spoke to me before I even knew what the book was about. It sounded like a mix of a few different genres, so I really didn’t know what I was getting into.

    The voice in this book takes a bit getting used to; at first it was a bit dominating and overwhelmed the rest of the story. But it’s also a vital component of the character and it does, somewhat, grow on you the further you read and the more you get to know Tracy.

    I felt that calling this a thriller was a bit misleading. There were some secrets and some mysteries to uncover, but it wasn’t in a thriller-type sense. To me, it felt a bit more supernatural than anything else, which isn’t at all mentioned anywhere. This part could have been a much more interesting element, but it’s not explored to it’s full extent and I feel like the author was actively trying to avoid being too supernatural. This part is reoccurring through the entire book and ends up being pretty in your face towards the end, but there’s no real context to it. It was a style chosen, not to give those details, but I’m the kind of person who likes those details and if that’s what you’re going for, then wear that proudly and explore it to its depths, don’t just touch upon the surface.

    It’s clear that Bradbury is writing about what she knows, dog racing and the cold, blank Alaskan backdrop. I, however, know nothing about dog racing nor do I really have much of an interest in it, which made parts of this book a struggle for me. I liked how this all set the scene, but it was a very dominant character for the first part of the book and I felt things dragging a little bit. I also want to mention that hunting and trapping is a large part of this story and the scenes are gratuitous, but they are somewhat descriptive, which won’t be for every reader.

    I did really enjoy the wolf/dog attributes that came out in Tracy’s feelings and descriptions of things. I liked how tied to the woods she was and how running made her feel liberated and free. Those sentiments always paint a nice picture for me and I enjoyed exploring those parts. I also really enjoyed the ending, when things finally came together and where Tracy ended up in the whole thing. I found it satisfying and it fit with the rest of the story.

    However, overall, this book didn’t really do it for me. It was well written, but I personally didn’t care that much for the content or the characters and just as I started to become interested and be pulled into this mysterious supernatural attribute, that part would end and we’d go back to dog racing. I guess I’m not as akin to nature as I thought.

  • Bentley ★ Bookbastion.net

    ________

    I came across

    when browsing Edelweiss for advance review copies. I've grown very particular over the last year about what I'll request from publishers, as time seems to be a commodity that I have less and less of lately. I was drawn this debut offering from Jamey Bradbury and William Morrow in part because of the gorgeous cover, and literary fiction infused with horror and fantasy elements seemed quite intri

    ________

    I came across

    when browsing Edelweiss for advance review copies. I've grown very particular over the last year about what I'll request from publishers, as time seems to be a commodity that I have less and less of lately. I was drawn this debut offering from Jamey Bradbury and William Morrow in part because of the gorgeous cover, and literary fiction infused with horror and fantasy elements seemed quite intriguing.

    Many writing courses and lecturers tell aspiring authors, "write what you know."

    She chooses to center a core component of the plot around the Alaskan sport of dog mushing, particularly on the Iditarod trail.

    If Bradbury herself is not a dog musher by practice, I must give her credit where its due for the research and effort put forth here as she conveys critical aspects of that sport to her readers.

    Oddly enough, though fantasy, horror and suspense are my mainstay genres to read in, I found their inclusion here less of a motivating factor to continue reading. In a way, I think Tracy's story was complex enough without adding a fantastical element that I can only describe as poorly defined. It created more questions than it answered - particularly about Tracy and how she interacts with everyone around her.

    I'm less sure about the answer to that last question. Unfortunately the story never takes the time to pin down a satisfying answer. The result is that the story frequently becomes bogged down by strange interludes -

    I'm choosing to remain intentionally vague here as I hate spoilers, but I will say that Tracy's entire existence comes to revolve around her need to engage this fantastical element and it really made me dislike her as a character.

    She never questions the sanity of what she's doing. She makes a number of leaps of logic that ultimately end up hurting other people a great deal because of it, and yet she never considers stopping.

    I was awaiting some massive twist in which this level of distrust would be used to inform on why nothing is ever explained, but it never comes.

    As frustrated as I was by the lack of explanation given, there was still a great deal to love about this novel. I think for a debut outing it's quite strong.

    Some of them were a bit more strongly constructed than others, but for the most part they felt real and well developed as people.

    I'll be excited to see how Bradbury's work expands moving forward. I think she shows a great deal of promise as a young author, and will be interested to see how her works shift into either clear literary fiction or a more dedicated fantasy/horror focus in the future.

  • Ellen Gail

    2.5 very confused stars.

    A very strange tale of sled dog racing, blood, secrets, and more blood.

    Okay.

    How do I talk about this without spoiling the fuck out of it? Cause there's a lot to talk about.

    You can peep the synopsis for details, but in short, Tracy Petrikoff (teenage delinquent? feral youth? what kinds of words can I even use for her?) is a born and raised Alaskan musher, as well as a trapper and hunte

    2.5 very confused stars.

    A very strange tale of sled dog racing, blood, secrets, and more blood.

    Okay.

    How do I talk about this without spoiling the fuck out of it? Cause there's a lot to talk about.

    You can peep the synopsis for details, but in short, Tracy Petrikoff (teenage delinquent? feral youth? what kinds of words can I even use for her?) is a born and raised Alaskan musher, as well as a trapper and hunter. Her woods are her home. Despite the dangers inherent, she's safe there.

    Until the day she's knocked unconscious by a man in the woods. Tracy is fine, if a little shaken from the encounter.

    But the familiar looking stranger stumbling from the woods injured by a hunting knife might not be.

    A blood soaked stranger. The impending Iditarod. A grieving family. A wanderer with something to hide. Bootprints in the snow.

    There all all kinds of wildness to be found.

    First, what I liked. Alaska! DOGS!

    lives in Alaska and it shows in the way she writes the woods and the general atmosphere. I also have to give major points for boldness. Setting aside for a moment what I liked and what I didn't, some of these plot choices were brazen and fearless and I admire that. Like there's a BIG moment that happens in the midst of a snowstorm and only one word is spoken and that was

    well done. Seriously, congrats on that scene.

    Now, onto what I didn't. First, all dialogue is sans quotation marks. It's a stylistic choice that unfortunately doesn't always work for me.

    is probably the only case where I've outright loved it, but it was tolerable in

    . Here I didn't 100% hate it, but it was confusing. Not a home run by far.

    Also, this goes back to the risk taking thing, but I need to talk about Tracy. I HATED her. Mostly for reasons related to super duper spoilery things. If you've read this you know the thing; THE SUPER SPOILERY THING SHE DOES A LOT. WHAT THE FUCK. But also; she killed a cat. Bit people. Yes, people plural. Unprovoked.

    And her attitude to her parents - I guess you know you're an adult when you feel bad for the dad and not the teenager.

    And it's not that I mind downright awful protagonists.

    and

    feature a

    person as the protagonist. He thinks, says, and does awful things. But Tracy Sue Petrikoff just did NOT work for me. At all. I LOATHE her.

    So

    is a striking and ambitious first novel, but for various reasons, (many of them confusing and spoilery as all get out), it fell short of the mark for me.

    Thanks to William Morrow and Edelweiss for the drc!

  • Barb (Boxermommyreads)

    I finished this book just last night and if I don't write the review soon, I fear I may never do so. I like books that are strange and odd but even this one had me going at times. First let's talk about the things I liked in the book. I really enjoyed the family dynamics. Tracy's mother died a few years back when she was tragically hit by a car (or I think she was, now I'm not sure) and it's interesting to see how Tracy, her brother Scott and her father pick up the pieces following the tragedy.

    I finished this book just last night and if I don't write the review soon, I fear I may never do so. I like books that are strange and odd but even this one had me going at times. First let's talk about the things I liked in the book. I really enjoyed the family dynamics. Tracy's mother died a few years back when she was tragically hit by a car (or I think she was, now I'm not sure) and it's interesting to see how Tracy, her brother Scott and her father pick up the pieces following the tragedy. They don't always get along and the struggle to put everything back into its proper place is very believable. I also enjoyed the dog aspect of the book, as I knew I would. The whole family, minus Scott, is active in the "mushing" lifestyle. They raise dogs and while it would be impossible for me to do so because I'd have the WHOLE TEAM inside with me, the dogs added a very enjoyable aspect to "The Wild Inside." I also liked that Bradbury created a very diverse character and wove them into the plot without shouting "LOOK AT THE DIVERSE CHARACTER!" if that make sense.

    Now for some things that didn't work for me. And I'm going to be honest - there was a lot. Having finished the book, I still don't know what the heck happened. The author makes no secret that Tracy possesses something others don't. She is able to drink blood of animals, which she needs for strength, and experience what they have went through. She is able to do the same thing with people, but her mother told her not to do so. Does she listen - NO. And it causes all kinds of problems, but not the ones you'd suspect. Tracy becomes weak when she tries to stop this disturbing habit, so she is unable to do so for long. But not once in the book is it explained why Tracy can do this. I don't think she's a shifter, but is she a vamp? Probably not because she doesn't shy away from sunlight. Is she mentally ill - probably but it brings about the chicken and the egg controversy. I didn't really care for many of the characters, especially Tracy and Jesse, but I didn't hate them either.

    Finally, I have to add this. This book kind of grossed me out which is hard to do. Tracy needs blood to stay strong. But when it isn't available, she is at least able to remedy the problem once a month. You see where I'm going right? Because I refuse to spell it out.

    I requested my library order "The Wild Inside" when it came out and they complied. I really did want to read it and despite my rating, I never once considered DNF'ing it. I mean, I wanted answers. But I didn't get them. And oh, there might be ghosts.

    I won't say there is animal cruelty because the dogs are well cared for in the novel but there is a lot of hunting...and blood drinking...and oh, a cat dies which I found extremely sad and vicious. So if any of that bothers you, stay away from this book. But if anything sounds uniquely intriguing, then give this book a try. The immediately afterwards hit me up on Goodreads and feel free to explain it to me.

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