Half Wild by Sally Green is the fantastic sequel to Half Bad, which I reviewed here.
Things have gone from bad to… well, still bad for Nathan, who now has his Gift but can’t control it, transforming into a wild animal at night and waking up with blood in his teeth. But he’s determined to stay positive, to try to find the best in things, though situations that crop up make that very, very hard.
I loved this book even more than Half Bad. Nathan is fantastically sympathetic even while he makes mistakes, or does things for the wrong reason. In my previous review, I mentioned that although we sympathize with and love Nathan, we don’t see what Gabriel sees in him. That’s clarified in this book, and we get a much deeper understanding of how Gabriel feels. Which is done fantastically well; Gabriel has rocketed up to one of my favorite characters.
The writing is still incredible. It’s experimental, and although I think some of these experiments don’t entirely work—the changing font sizes and repeated sounds can get a bit tiresome; we know what it sounds like by then, and I don’t need the visual—I still appreciate the desire to experiment, and other things work very nicely for me to build emotional effect.
The central conflict for Nathan is always one of emotional entanglements. How he feels for the girl he loves, Annalise; how he feels for the boy he knows loves him, Gabriel; how he feels for the father he never knew, how he feels for people who have hurt him but who now need him, how he feels about death and how he feels about hope.
And Green sells it to us. Nathan’s feelings are genuine and important and his desire to hope for the best shines through. As a middle book in a dark YA trilogy, things are pretty bleak at this point. I love Nathan, though, and I hope so much that his hope bears fruit.