Wild Blue Wonder
By Carlie Sorosiak
Published June 26, 2018 by Harper Teen
“But as you know, in all camp stories, there are monsters.
In this one, there are two.
The sea monster.
Last summer, Quinn had it all. She was a nationally ranked swimmer, she and her siblings were as close as can be, and she was falling in love with her best friend, Dylan. Now it’s fall, and Quinn’s given up swimming, her siblings hate her, Dylan is dead, and she blames herself for his death.
Wild Blue Wonder is a sweet and sad look at love, loss, and the ties that bind. Quinn is just existing, feeling shut out by her brother and sister and not able to enjoy anything. Her family runs a summer camp, which seems like a magical place, but in fall in Maine, it’s not quite as charming.
The story in told in alternating timelines, each chapter switching between the present and the previous summer. I liked this format, and the gradual revelation of what happened in the summer adds to the dramatic tension. The summer chapters are written as if Quinn is telling the story to Dylan.
The arrival of a new boy named Alexander causes Quinn to think about moving on, but the grief and the guilt are always with her. She has lovely parents, a wonderful grandmother, and a supportive best friend, but she’s drowning in guilt and her fractured relationships with her brother and sister are a continual source of pain.
There were a lot of things I really liked about this book. Quinn’s grief felt very real, the family dynamics were really interesting, Quinn’s Nanna is a great character who works hard to help her granddaughter move on, and the new romance is very sweet. There are some slight magical realism elements; the camp is described as a magical place, where blueberries grow year-round and there may be a (possibly metaphorical) sea monster lurking in the water.
I like quiet books about grief, so Wild Blue Wonder is very much my type of book. It reminded me a bit of I’ll Give You the Sun and A Million Junes, so fans of those books may enjoy it.