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The Wild Girls
Pat Murphy
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The Wild Girls

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  1,522 Ratings  ·  316 Reviews
It?s 1972. Twelve-year-old Joan is sure that she is going to be miserable when her family moves. Then she meets a most unusual girl. Sarah prefers to be called ?Fox,? and lives with her author dad in a rundown house in the middle of the woods. The two girls start writing their own stories together, and when one wins first place in a student contest, they find themselves re ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 16th 2008 by Speak (first published January 1st 2007)
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Aug 18, 2008 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Wild Girls is a book for writers. It's a book for girls who don't always follow the rules and for girls who play with spotted newts. As a girl who enjoys writing, newts, and occasional rule-breaking, I fell in love immediately.

Pat Murphy tells the story of two girls -- the rule-following Joan (aka Newt), who just moved to California from Connecticut and has always written the kinds of stories she thought her teacher would like, and Sarah (aka Fox), who hangs out throwing rocks in the woods n
Nov 30, 2009 Melody rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
10/2013 I started with the audiobook, but it was one disc short, so I got the book and started over. I remain a big fan. It's solidly plotted, and covers a lot of early adolescence without being an issue book at all. Highly recommended.

11/2009 I loved the girls in this book. Fox and Newt are so perfectly poised between childhood and adolescence, between that subterranean self that exists early on and the later, public iceberg self. Their groping towards the light is beautifully mirrored in their
Nov 01, 2011 Erica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
Book talk: Before Joan moved to California she only read stories. After she moved to California, Joan began to live them. It all started when she was exploring in the woods near her house and she found what looked like a troll's living room. It turned out that it belonged to a girl named Sarah who called herself the Queen of Foxes. Joan soon became newt in turn and newt and fox explored secret grottoes, defended their fort from invaders, and hid in the woods. Their real life mixed with a fantasy ...more
Sep 24, 2014 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

"I wondered if it would always be like that: first the fear, and then the glory."

Picked from the J shelves of my local library because the cover promised all things girl-powery and maybe a little bit of good writing. And I was not disappointed.

The Wild Girls delivers absolute beauty in a junior lit book that adults can and should enjoy as well. The writing is not childish. There are some very moving passages and all does not have the happiest of endings. There is no black-and-white, right v.
Feb 16, 2009 Maddie rated it it was amazing
The Wild Girls is an amazing novel. Joan, later to be called Newt, has just moved from Conneticut to Danneville, California. She soon meets a strange, independent girl Sarah, called Fox by friends and family. The two girls become very close. Fox lives with her dad because her mom ran away when she was 7, but now Fox's mom wants to get a divorce and make ammends with Fox. Newt's parents still live together, but they are nearing the end of the line. Her dad is always angry and constantly fights ab ...more

I loved this book and couldn’t put it down until the last page.

It’s an insightful and absorbing middle-grade novel, very enticingly and well written.
Although the author wrote the story from a young girl’s point of view, both the writing and the plot aren’t childish at all.

It was heartwarming to read about these amazing girls, Joan and Sarah, and the issues they went through, their loyal friendship, how they grew up a lot in a not so long span of time.
Few pages were kind of moving too!

Kathryn Berla
Jun 16, 2016 Kathryn Berla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an absolutely lovely novel that I would recommend to writers and aspiring writers ages 12 to 100. Also would recommend to anyone interested in the San Francisco East Bay (Danville and Berkeley) in 1972.
Jul 29, 2015 Susanchitter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved the book. A great book for preteens. Joan moved to a new town and thought she would hate it but she met a kindred spirit. Joan and Sarah - Newt and Fox - spent their time outside and writing stories. Great inspiration for anyone wanting to write their own journal, story or book.
Jun 17, 2012 Kaitlyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book was amazing. The whole time I wanted to be these characters, I wanted to live their lives. This book was just amazing.
This book took me by surprise on several levels.

It's a quietly wonderful coming-of-age story; it explores the power of words, of friendship, of nature, and of nonconformity. It does push the nonconformity angle a bit too hard, though: nature-loving Joan and Sarah (who call each other Newt and Fox) emphasize that they don't understand girls who are interested in makeup and boys. That kind of gave me an icky "not like other girls" vibe. And their attitude on this doesn't really change, but Joan do
Mar 08, 2017 Edilyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about Joan. Joan and her family moved to California. Joan thinks her life there would be miserable. But when Joan and her family got there, her life changes. Joan met a friend named Sarah. While they were getting to know each other, both Joan and Sarah found out that they liked writing a story. So, Joan and Sarah entered the fiction contest and they won. Both Joan and Sarah got recruited to a summer writing class and the teacher would Verla Volante. That class is for them to know ho ...more
Dec 22, 2015 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A young adult book about two young girls learning how to be friends, how to understand parent's fighting and becoming writers. The author is very good at expressing how these girls think and their interactions and responses were refreshingly realistic. This book focuses on divorce and fighting parents but in a way that doesn't demonize anyone. If you have a young writer at home this is a good choice. An enjoyable read.
Jan 19, 2008 Betsy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, it's fine. The story is nice enough, and it's an enjoyable read. There is absolutely zero reason to set it in the early 70s though. That's kind of a pet peeve of mine. If you're going to make a book historical, you need a better reason than "that's when I was growing up". Still, it's pleasant.
Too much to say I need to think about it before I write something.

Let's just say : it was perfect!!!! This book goes straight up to my favorite shelf, I am in love!
Apr 16, 2010 Madeleine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
i loved this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!Autumn,you should read this!
Emily Lieberman
I didn't like it that much.
Trinh Mai
May 18, 2017 Trinh Mai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like adventures
Mar 01, 2017 Ruby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book for anyone who loves to read and write!!
Elizabeth Amber
I loved this book. It was perfect in every way. It had heart, soul, truth and innocence. This is going on my required reading list for all my women friends.
Celia Herondale
Oct 14, 2016 Celia Herondale rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Julia Mcardle
The Wild Grils is about two girls, Juan and Sarah, who want to get away from their home life, which isn’t too good, so they escape to the woods and have wild adventures and write stories about them. When they give one of their stories to a writing contest, and their story won, that’s when their lives really picked up. They start going to writing classes to get better at writing. But their home lives are getting worse. Juan’s parents are arguing and Sarah’s mom, who ran away from her as a child, ...more
Jennifer Ladd
In the story The Wild Girls, written by Pat Murphy is the story of two girls: Joan and Sarah. Joan is the new girl in town. She doesn’t fit in and doesn’t think she will make any friends until…she meets Sarah. Sarah doesn’t really fit in either; she is the quiet but adventurous type and would really like a friend she can explore with. Sarah lives with her father (who is a writer) in an old, run down house in the woods behind Joan’s new house. Sarah loves to play in and around the pond that they ...more
Feb 18, 2015 C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Children's Books Too Cool For School Joan is not a Wild Girl when she moves from Connecticut to California. She's a very normal sort of 1970s girl who generally does what is expected her. Then, wandering in the lawns and woods behind her new home, she meets Fox, who is a very Wild Girl. Fascinated by Fox and her biker-looking father, Joan names herself Newt, and together, in the woods, she and Fox become the Wild Girls. One of the Wild Girls' favorite activities is making up stories, and when on ...more
Marianne McKiernan
A perfect book about writing, the power of stories, and relationships.
Jul 27, 2011 Zoe rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books
I really enjoyed this while I was reading it. The characters had real problems, the adults were actually complicated and had their own journeys within the book, but didn't upstage the two main characters, Joan/Newt and Fox/Sarah. It was definitely refreshing that there weren't black-and-white characters; even the least sympathetic nevertheless had his moments. I did like the central idea of trying to understand the world and the people around you in order to write about them, and finding the cou ...more
Gabriela Gupta
Dec 11, 2013 Gabriela Gupta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the book, The Wild Girls, by Pat Murphy you discover Joan and Sarah two girls who go on an adventure and decide to become best friends. When Joan moves from Connecticut to a suburb right outside San Francisco she meets Sarah who is know as the Queen of the Foxes. Joan as any girl wasn’t looking forward to moving. Although, right when she got to her house she went exploring and she found Sarah. Once they got to know each other better they ended up making nicknames for each other. Sarah prefer ...more
Dec 13, 2007 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: grades 6-8
Recommended to Sarah by: see if it was JR appropriate
This book was just okay, but the part about her mean dad made me want to cry!


When Joan and her family move from Connecticut to California in 1972, she hates everything at first. Then, while exploring the neighborhood (and avoiding helping her mother unpack) she meets a girl named Sarah, who calls herself Fox—Queen of the Foxes. Joan’s life isn’t quite the same after that.

Fox and Joan—who soon chooses the nickname Newt for herself—become friends. They spend time in the orchard, the creek, or nea
Twelve-year-old Joan moves to California from Connecticut in 1972 and is mad and scared. She is afraid she won't have any friends and can't seem to forgive her parents for making her move. As she explores outside her sub-division she discovers and befriends Fox, Sarah, the daughter of a writer and single father. Unlike Joan, Fox is comfortable in the woods, likes throwing rocks, exploring the culvert, and hanging out in her secret clearing. Joan is more comfortable in school, knows how to write ...more
Aug 28, 2009 Claudia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Claudia by: Dean and Maryann and Sonia
Shelves: ya-books
Murphy did a great job of creating characters who learn through writing. She's almost given us a writing manual for aspiring authors. But at the same time, she's given us two wonderful characters who learn so much about themselves, and finally are able to see themselves as separate people from their parents. Newt has nearly been paralyzed by the toxic dynamics of her life and takes the advice of her wonderful hippy-dippy writing teacher to heart: see things from other people's points of view. Re ...more
Emma Louise
I didn't think it was fair to give this any rating because it would be biased by my opinion and not a fair rating based on the actual content of the book or the author's writing ability. Usually I rate based on a mix of opinion and the technical aspects of the writing but this time I think it would be unfair since the book was aimed at a younger audience and wasn't appealing to me at all.
Also I didn't finish the book. I got about 3/4 of the way through and was not interested. I only kept reading
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LOVED 11 14 Jun 05, 2013 07:38AM  
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“I've learned to write the truth. But to do that, I had to figure out what the truth was-and I had to realize that the truth isn't always the same for everyone. I had to realize that my truth may not be the same as your truth.” 13 likes
“I read books when I was a kid, lots of books. Books always seemed like magic to me. They took you to the most amazing places. When I got older, I realized I couldn’t find books that took me to all the places I wanted to go. To go to those places, I had to write some books myself.” 12 likes
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