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3.39  ·  Rating details ·  87 ratings  ·  32 reviews
I met Melissa in the rubber room, a.k.a. in-school suspension. And that’s not her real name.
She had secrets, I had enemies.
“People are either useful or dangerous,” she said. “One or the other.”
“Which one am I?” I said.
“You’re both.”
Meili was right. (That’s her real name.)
You can solve a lot of problems if you don’t mind getting hurt.

Jason Wilder is in permanent in-school s
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published November 13th 2018 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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3.39  · 
Rating details
 ·  87 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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Dave Bradley
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is agonizing and beautiful without ever really trying to be. It just is. There's a level of honesty in it that I don't see in much other fiction, especially the other contemporary YA novels that I've read. The characters are comprised less of quirks and more of genuine humanity.

I really haven't read a book that made me feel this way in a long time. It's not always happy, if ever, and it's not tragic, either. There's elements of both. It just feels painfully real.
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book!
Caitlin Carnes
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’m not even sure I *like* this book, but it’s unlike anything I’ve read, especially in YA. Four stars for a swerve that I absolutely did not see coming.
Jason Wilder is spending his senior year in the Rubber Room, AKA in-school suspension. He landed there because he is considered to be a danger to his peers ... he is, after all, an arsonist, but he’d tell you otherwise. Jason wiles away the hours reading fantasy novels and not actually doing any of the schoolwork assigned to him. That is, until the mysterious Meili walks into the room.

The only thing Jason knows about Meili is that she ended up in the Rubber Room for breaking another girl’s fing
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
A definite swerve at the end, although I can't say the narrator didn't warn us of this from the beginning. A strange read, but I was pulled in by the characters and along for the ride.
"I wanted her to remake me... And that disgusted her. She didn't want me to be like her; she wanted me to be like me."

Holy crap, man, this book was insane! Even though it warns you that the characters "swerve," I still was not prepared. This whole book is one crazy, wild ride- and I'm still not sure if I've fully processed it all clearly yet. It starts with a bang, a whole lot of "what!?", and only accelerates from there. A chaotic whirlwind- that's what these characters are. And after the initi
Nov 29, 2018 rated it liked it
review to come.
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I finished this book quickly because even with its flaws, I found myself wrapped up in the story. Jason is a well-written unreliable narrator and though Meili is often lumped into this manic pixie dream girl role, she has enough humanity to make the book feel real. My main problem with this book is that it took 250 pages for it to turn into what I wanted it to be. There was just... too much YA romance and explicit sex to a point where I considered giving up and calling it a loss. In hindsight, t ...more
Lindsi (Do You Dog-ear?)
DNF at 17%

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

My reoccurring thought: What the fuck? Wilder was crazy and extremely convoluted. It was often difficult to follow their conversations, because they were random and bounced all over the place. I could tell the author was trying to build suspense, and I'm sure there would have been a big reveal
This one is a 3.5 for me because I'm not sure I buy some of what happens in the book, but I also appreciated its gritty honesty and depiction of violence. The book jacket and the author continually warn readers to expect a swerve in the story, and that's exactly what happens, no doubt leading me and more than a few others disconcerted by the ending and the last part of the book. Jason Wilder is spending his senior year in the in-school suspension room to keep him out of fights. There, he meets M ...more
Kelly Lyn
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jason's life is literal hell. He is the school outcast and is in permanent in school suspension. He has to spend his days in a no longer used classroom, which has been dubbed the Rubber Room. He can't talk to anyone, he can't take any "weapons" with him, He just has to sit there, shut up and do his work. His boring days change when the new "foreign" girl gets put in the rubber room for breaking a popular girls finger. They connect and form a bond when they shouldn't be associating at all.
As the
Oct 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Netgalley provided me a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review

3.5 stars.

This book was highly entertaining, and I thoroughly enjoyed the characters of Jason Wilder and Meili; however, I felt like it was really lacking a punch or sense of urgency the first half of the book. This really led me to be underwhelmed and I struggled staying committed to the text.

The second half had much better pacing and conflicts, and I felt a stronger sense of urgency about Jason's issues related to his
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
Wow! What a powerhouse page-turner. I love an unreliable narrator and this one has at least two. Jason is a brilliant, funny redneck in Alabama with a teeny tiny little problem with anger management. OK, a big problem. He's on probation for arson and fist-fighting and he's trying his best not to wind up back in juvie. Which means pretending his alcoholic mother still lives with him and hasn't run off to Florida with his lame stepfather. And going to school every day even though the powers that b ...more
Christopher Yamasaki
This book has its moments, and its strengths, but overall I don't know if I enjoyed it. It was a fast read that took an interesting plot that was both captive and quick, which is considerable because I never read YA romance, but the ending left me very confused. Without spoiling it I was blind sided by the story's conclusion while left wondering about more than the conclusion offered. I feel that given the tendencies of the main character, the conclusion was uncalled for and there lacked develop ...more
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a hard book to characterize. I had the feeling from the first page that everything was a bit off and that there was more that I didn't know ... and was I ever right. I really got into Jason. He was an interesting, sympathetic and slightly tragic figure that had me rooting for him. Meili didn't appeal so much but I did find her intriguing. The story was an absorbing read that moved right along and the ending was an eye-opener. I have to say that this was an enjoyable book that left me som ...more
Jennifer Cleary
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Over the last two years it's been really challenging for me to read fiction (something about pregnancy and being a new mom has made it hard for me to stick with a novel). But not with Wilder. This book kept my interest - through plot twists and authentic (if not always relatable) characters. This book felt real. And like others have said - even though the book warns you over and over - I still didn't expect the ending to play out the way it did.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
It's done. Is there a word for the kind of book you know is going nowhere good, but you can't stop reading it to see just how bad it gets? The plot just always had this foreboding feeling throughout, yet the resolution wasn't as terrible as it could have been. The main characters were pretty unlikable, so I wasn't sad to see it end, and I wasn't interested enough to read Melissa's secret letters to Jason. Just meh.
Lorrie Kim
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A strange book, and that's a compliment. The main character, almost-adult white male Jason, is carefully drawn, offbeat and occasionally lacking in self-awareness in a way that is utterly real. I appreciated the compelling character Meili, who was complex and immediate in a way that felt recognizably female and Asian to me. Confident writing, oddly haunting.
Wilder was truly a wild ride. It kept you involved and trying to figure out how it would end. One of those crazy relationship stories with extra mysterious twists.

The back jacket says ages 12-18, but I disagree. There is explicit sex and violence. Not one to buy for the school library, but fine for a young adult who's into some shit anyway.

(I received this in a goodreads giveaway.)
Ashley Sonlin
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This reads so much like an independent film...very "Spectacular Now" in my opinion. Jason's voice is so fresh and I loved exploring his world and relationships. Pretty much all of the characters are unreliable which leads to a bunch of drama. It's definitely not a cookie-cutter story, and felt very real. I'll definitely be thinking of this for a while.
Really liked it until the ending which didn’t seem to fit or connect
An edgier, more modern version of a John Hughes movie for the 21st century. With an unreliable narrator.
Apr 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
If you want to waste your time reading borderline romanticized violence then read this
Steven Ridgely
Mar 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Good story.
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: royal
Jason Wilder’s life has not been great up until now. His alcoholic mom and stepfather have moved to Florida, leaving him illegally on his own. He probably won’t graduate with his class, is being bullied by a group of boys from school, and has been permanently assigned to in-school detention, nicknamed the “rubber room,” partly for his own protection and partly for that of others’ since Jason can’t seem to control his anger. When Melissa (real name, Meili) joins him in the rubber room, Jason’s li ...more
Dec 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Overall: 3/5 Stars
Characters: 2/5
Setting: 3/5
Writing: 3/5
Plot and Themes: 3/5
Awesomeness Factor: 2/5
Review in a Nutshell: Wilder is interesting, but ultimately not enough to carry the book to a rating higher than 3 stars.
Not my cup of tea. Check out my full review at Forever Young Adult.
T.J. Burns
I received a copy of this book from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Forever Young Adult
Graded By: Stephanie
Cover Story: Seeing Red
BFF Charm: Nay
Swoonworthy Scale: 0
Talky Talk: Not For Me
Factor: Unreliable Narrator
Anti-Bonus Factor: Patty Chase Award for Awful Parenting
Relationship Status: Failed Date

Read the full book report here.
Kathleen Conway
The book "swerved" alright from the first scene where Jason meets Meili in the Robber Room to the
enigmatic character of Manny - very intriguing. Keeps one interested in knowing whose on whose
side? the alignments never solid. Simonet is masterful with the dialogue - fast, crisp, potent, violent,
piercing. Jason's inevitable loss of Meili and his ultimate aloneness in prison offer some possibility of
a deepening in his own understanding of himself.
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