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The Wild Girls
Pat Murphy
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The Wild Girls

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  1,460 Ratings  ·  303 Reviews
When thirteen-year-old Joan moves to California in 1972, she becomes friends with Sarah, who is timid at school but an imaginative leader when they play in the woods, and after winning a writing contest together they are recruited for an exclusive summer writing class that gives them new insights into themselves and others.
Kindle Edition
Published (first published January 1st 2007)
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Nov 14, 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
Oct 30, 2013 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
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
Aug 01, 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.
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.

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!

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.
Dec 24, 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 04, 2015 Angel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is about a twelve-year-old Joan who moves to California from Connecticut in 1972. There she meets a very unusual girl Fox, Fox lives with her dad in the middle of the woods. Fox’s father is an author,the two girls loves to write stories together. Once they won first place in a student contest, from this contest they were able to know that they were recruited for a summer writing class. I love how in this book the author told us how Fox is an very unusual girl and nobody plays with her, ...more
May 27, 2014 Koriflores rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This book is a about a girl who moves from Connecticut to California and is pretty much sure that she will hate it from the beginning. But then she meets this girl named Sarah, who prefers to be called Fox. She is very outgoing and crazy and lives in a house with her family in the middle of the woods. They share many great interest, like writing. Writing for them is their getaway place, writing is relaxing but yet fun to them. When they are together they call each other the “Wild Girls” because
Jan 21, 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.
Kate Commings
Jun 27, 2016 Kate Commings rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first time I read this book a few years ago, I fell in love with it. I still am, and I've read it several times since then. If you had asked me how many stars I would have given this book before I read it again recently, I probably would have said 5 without hesitation. But after reading it again I think I feel a little differently.
This is more of a middle grade book, and the first time I read it I think I was about twelve, the age of the main character, Joan. I really connected with the wo
Mar 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
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!
Dec 31, 2013 Dollypatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was amazing. Although I think the time period wasn't exactly the right choice, it could have been a little later, it was a great book. The characters are so interesting, and their writing class is phenomenal. I am thinking about buying a copy of it just so I can keep it for writing tips. Sarah, or Fox, is a unique character with many interesting qualities. Joan, or Newt, is the same way, though not, in my opinion, as unique as Sarah. This book, however, was put on the wrong shelf. It w ...more
Jun 18, 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.
Elise Davis
Aug 29, 2014 Elise Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the book. I'd passed by it numerous times at the library, reading the back cover, and always putting it back on the shelf because it just didn't sound appealing. Yet, once I started reading it, I was hooked. It's a coming of age kind of book with two strong characters who learn more about themselves and their relationships with others through a writing class. The writing class prompts were FUN! It sparked my own desire to sit down and journal and ask questions of the world. I th ...more
Rhianna Sandoval
I don't read a ton of young adult fiction, but this book hit me in a tender spot and then unfolded it into a thing of delicate beauty. Read it if you want to recapture the point at which you first realized that you didn't know how to deal with your feelings. This book is about a girl moving to California and meeting a girl called "Fox".This book is a really good book and I think whoever is reading this will like it.The book shows their journey of these girls living their life. I really do hope y ...more
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.
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
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
Sep 07, 2009 Marisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I want to thank Mrs. Swisher for recommending and letting me borrow this book. The writing tips were great! I loved the becoming of age theme and I just loved how both Newt and Fox directed their pain and anger into their writing. The obstacles of life really do make you grow.
These girls needed God. A lot. But who doesn't?
It makes me angry sometimes when adults say things like, "Teenagers! They think they know everything!" or "She's a teenager, you know. Hormones." These things that people
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
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
Grace Rorke
Wild girls was a fonamonal book about to girls that met and wrote an outstanding book together. The two main characters Joan and Sarah have trouble being able to see each othe because there nervous about what Joans mom might think. In this book the girls do not have many conflicts with each other but with other family members. These girls have met in a funny way when one of them almost throws a rock at the other when she sees her aproching. During school there not really able to express there se ...more
Joan is 13 the summer she meets Sarah and the two become best friends. In the woods, outside school and families and the regular world, the two girls become The Wild Girls - Newt & Fox. They build a tree fort and explore the forest, they chase of boys who threaten their woodland hideout and make up imaginative stories. Amid middle school the two girls cling to their friendship and each other as their families fall apart and their worlds are shaken up.

This is a great story for young girls, e
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
Sep 03, 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
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LOVED 11 14 Jun 05, 2013 07:38AM  
What did YOU think?!?!?! 1 7 Dec 08, 2011 01:55PM  
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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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