The End of the Wild by Nicole Helget
Reviewed by: Brian Wilson
Title: The End of the Wild
By: Helget, Nicole
Call #: J Helge.N
Many realistic middle grade novels try to tackle complex issues and do it quite well. Add to the list of successful titles The End of the Wild, a heartfelt look (for grades 4 and up) at an 11-year-old girl named Fern who lives near a forest and loves the animals, plants, and natural foods she finds there. Fern is a lively and sensitive central character, very compelling and relatable. And what makes this story especially strong is the supporting cast, all well-developed in novelist Nicole Helget’s capable hands, especially Fern’s beloved yet very troubled stepfather. There’s a potent sense of place; the story feels lived-in and real. In a sensitive manner, the book looks at poverty with Fern foraging for food to feed her family. When she hears that a fracking company wants to build on a nearby land, Fern feels extreme concern because it will affect the nature so close to her heart. Helget deepens the conflict when Fern’s stepfather, in desperate need for work, considers a job with the company. The End of the Wild moves surprisingly fast, and although there are some very sad moments, the novel has a warm heart without being maudlin.