“Delightful and darkly magical. Julia Fine has written a beautiful modern myth, a coming-of-age story for a girl with a worrisome power over life and death. I loved it.” (Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry)
“A hypnotizing fairy tale that explores what it’s like to live life in an unruly female body that everyone around it insists on controlling, What Should Be Wild pulsates with originality, curiosity, terror, and pleasure.” (Sadie Trombetta, Bustle)
“A surreally feministic tale…. Enchanting, menacing and darkly humorous, it explores women’s power and powerlessness throughout the ages. To be tamed and controlled, to be untamed and fierce—and feared.” (Darcy Jacobs, Family Circle)
“What Should Be Wild is a Gothic stunner for the 21st century—provocative, luxuriant, unsettling. Prepare to be mesmerized.” (Leni Zumas, author of Red Clocks)
“A wonderful addition to that genre of lyrical, poetic fantasies, akin to fairy tales in their delicacy and adjacency to the real world.” (Elena Nicolaou, Refinery 29)
“Without hyperbole, it’s one of the best debut novels I’ve ever read.” (Adam Morgan, Chicago Magazine)
“Julia Fine’s elegant prose and quick-paced storytelling cause the pages to fly by, and you’ll still be reliving each moment to trace what was real for quite some time to come.” (Popsugar)
“Julia Fine’s dynamic new novel What Should Be Wild is a darkly comic tale with doses of magic and suspense.” (Southern Living)
“Julia Fine is an exciting, excellent writer. And her voice, in What Should Be Wild, says, unspoken, what we all want so badly to hear when we pick up a new book: Let me tell you a story... one you won’t want to end.” (Josh Malerman, author of Bird Box and Black Mad Wheel)
“Delightful and darkly magical. Julia Fine has written a beautiful modern myth, a coming-of-age story for a girl with a worrisome power over life and death. I loved it.” —Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry
A Washington Post Best Fantasy Book of May • A Refinery 29 Best May Book • A Chicago Review of Books Best May Book • A Verge Gripping Fantasy Novel of May
In this darkly funny, striking debut, a highly unusual young woman must venture into the woods at the edge of her home to remove a curse that has plagued the women in her family for millennia—an utterly original novel with all the mesmerizing power of The Tiger’s Wife, The Snow Child, and Swamplandia!
Cursed. Maisie Cothay has never known the feel of human flesh: born with the power to kill or resurrect at her slightest touch, she has spent her childhood sequestered in her family’s manor at the edge of a mysterious forest. Maisie’s father, an anthropologist who sees her as more experiment than daughter, has warned Maisie not to venture into the wood. Locals talk of men disappearing within, emerging with addled minds and strange stories. What he does not tell Maisie is that for over a millennium her female ancestors have also vanished into the wood, never to emerge—for she is descended from a long line of cursed women.
But one day Maisie’s father disappears, and Maisie must venture beyond the walls of her carefully constructed life to find him. Away from her home and the wood for the very first time, she encounters a strange world filled with wonder and deception. Yet the farther she strays, the more the wood calls her home. For only there can Maisie finally reckon with her power and come to understand the wildest parts of herself.