Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Running Wild” as Want to Read:
Running Wild
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Running Wild

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  70 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Twelve-year-old Willa and her twin brothers have survived with their father in the Alaskan wilderness for five years. But Willa knows this can't go on--they must escape.

Since their mother died five years ago, Willa, her younger brothers, and her father have lived in the wilderness, in a log cabin they built. They survive on food they grow and animals they hunt. Every year
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published September 10th 2019 by Margaret Ferguson Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Running Wild, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Running Wild

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  70 ratings  ·  23 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Running Wild
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I lived in Alaska for 3 years and love reading books that take place there, especially ones that are set in the Alaskan wilderness, as this one was.

A number of reviewers have mentioned that this book reminds them of Hatchet, which makes sense as both require a teen or preteens to use their smarts and resourcefulness to survive not only the extreme conditions, but also the many predators in the wild. I was reminded much more of some of Will Hobbs books, especially Far North. Just another suggesti
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Running Wild is a survival/adventure story set in the Alaskan wilderness as three siblings escape their father’s increasingly concerning behavior. The adventure is exciting and rife with tension, the characters you will root for, and the landscape is beautiful. I wish some of the moments had held more emotion (it felt like they should have), but it was still very enjoyable!
Ms. Yingling
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Personal copy

Willa lives with her father and brothers Seth and Keith in the Alaskan wilderness. The nearest settlement is Fort Yukon, and they only have one neighbor. Their father, a high school teacher, moved the family after the death of the mother, and tells the children that humans are just animals, and need just food, clothing and shelter, not all of the fripperies of civilization. Willa, who loves to read and mourns the loss of the encyclopedia after her father burns it out of spite, disag
After the death of their mother, Willa's father decided to forsake Seattle and head to the Alaska wilderness. The family has been living there, completely off the grid, for five years. Although Willa, now 12, loves many aspects of their life, she longs for a friend and a different sort of life. Now that she's twelve, she wonders about city life, and worries about her father's increasing drinking and violence, and his refusal to listen to her concerns. As winter weather grows close, Willa is conc ...more
Anita McDivitt Barrios
I know many of my students loved Brian's tale of survival after a plane crash in Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. This is a slightly different kind of survival in the wilderness story, but a great one for fans of wilderness survival scenarios.

Twelve-year-old Willa knows they haven't stored enough meat for four people to survive the upcoming Alaskan winter. She also sees the empty whiskey bottles and hears her father's empty promises to hunt. Then there's a horrible thump as her brother argues with her
Laura Gardner
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
There’s more to survival than food and shelter.”
Willa, age 12, and her two younger twin brothers live in the Alaskan wilderness with their survivalist father. They moved there five years ago when their beloved mother died. At first it was fun living off the land with no electricity, no running water and no school to attend, but Willa is increasingly lonely for companionship, new books to read, and civilization. Her father is a recovering alcoholic who has been sober for years, but recently he st
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received this book as an ARC at the ALA conference this weekend, and finished it in 2 days. It's a page-turner. So, thank you to Holiday House!

Twelve year old Willa and her 10 year old twin brothers live in a remote cabin in Alaska, where they've been since the death of their mom 5 years earlier. Their Dad is unhinged, and Willa realizes that they won't make it through the winter if they don't get away. With the goal of eventually finding their Aunt Frances in NYC, the kids (with the help of m
Teresa Bateman
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When Willa's mother died her father took her and her two younger brothers into the Alaskan wilderness. Perhaps he was fleeing to a place where he felt grief could not follow. They've survived for a few years, living off the land, but now 12-year-old Willa is worried. There's not enough food stored for the coming winter, and her father's return to drinking makes him unpredictable and occasionally violent. She knows she can't continue to live like this. She wants friends, school, and someone to ex ...more
Melody Kenney
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
Running Wild was an exciting, engaging read and I think that kids in this age group would love it.

The believability of this survival story of escape by two ten-year-old boys and a twelve-year-old girl is questionable, but one takes into account their 5 years of learning how to live off the land in remote Alaska. I really liked the descriptive text about how they built shelter, caught game, and more. Things do fall into order just a little too simply at the end of their trek. But, hey, this is fi
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-ya
Gary Paulsen's Hatchet meets and not-so-successful The Swiss Family Robinson  in this story of a young girl, Willa, who has moved to Alaska with her father and twin brothers. Willa's father moved his family to a remote location while grieving his wife's death. Years later, Willa and her brothers are living in the remote wilderness. After years of the family living like 19th Century homesteaders, food is scarce, medical help is non-existent and the three siblings have no one except their more and ...more
Gabe Barber
Jan 20, 2020 rated it liked it
A fun story to read in an afternoon. It felt a bit rushed, as though the author was in a hurry to finish. The concept was great, and there were many components that could have made for a truly rich and complex survival story, both physical survival and social and emotional survival. But, everything seems to happen a bit too quickly. Still, it was an enjoyable read. Reminds me of Gary Paulsen's Hatchet, but with siblings. ...more
Krissy Neddo
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I liked that the ending didn't wrap up perfectly.
May not appeal to a reader who wants all action and survival. Family dynamics added to it in my opinion. The coming of age detail about Willa getting her period was more than I had expected. Good fit for a MS library or a public library borrow for grade 4-5. Great for reluctant readers.
Jan 16, 2020 rated it liked it
It fell a bit flat with me. I knew it was a youth book when I picked it up but I still thought it was going to be more wilderness survival and less emotional drama. Only about half the book is the kids in the wild the other half is them in town trying to figure out life with their aunt and alcoholic dad. That and the story really doesn’t wrap up at the end.
Jan 07, 2020 rated it liked it
This adventure story reminds me of a younger version of "Hatchet". There are some adult issues in this one: alcoholism, grief, and isolation. However, there is also camaraderie and determination. I enjoyed the surviving the wilderness part of the story but found the civilization part completely uninteresting and unbelievable. This one was a mixed bag for me. ...more
Genanne Walsh
Dec 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A rollicking story about three young siblings navigating the wilds of Alaska, on the run from their grieving, alcoholic father. Thoroughly enjoyed this page-turner of a story for middle readers -- it also happens to be a wonderful escape for weary adults.
Oct 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Wanting to escape their father who was drinking again, and their extremely poor circumstances as they faced another long winter in the Alaskan outback, Willa and her twin brothers set out on their raft hoping to make it to the nearest town before the river froze.
Breelynd Huntley
Feb 04, 2021 rated it liked it
This was a really quick one and sometimes I felt like it lacked detail, but it more than made up for it in plot. Good survival story
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewers
I liked the book, but I feel like the detail could use some work though. Would not recommend if you like cliff hangers. Pretty good overall.
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cultural, family, teens, kids
Wonderful story of a family facing challenges in the Alaskan wilderness. The father is not mentally well and the kids decide to hike out and find people.
Feb 28, 2020 added it
Shelves: cha
adventure/survival story with a strong young female main character. Set in Alaska references alcoholism, abuse, menstruation, and animal rights. Quick and relatively light read
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This reminds me of Gary Paulsen's Hatchet, except in this case, we have a female lead character, 12-year-old, Willa. ...more
IT Librarian
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
3.5. Quick read with lots of action.
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book as a Christmas present for my nephew and we enjoyed reading out loud together.
rated it liked it
Dec 11, 2019
rated it liked it
Oct 29, 2019
rated it really liked it
Dec 23, 2019
William Pender
rated it it was amazing
Jan 30, 2020
rated it really liked it
Apr 26, 2020
Karen Trier
rated it really liked it
Apr 20, 2020
Lock Pollard
rated it really liked it
Sep 10, 2020
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Fighting Words
  • Show Me a Sign
  • 96 Miles
  • The Blackbird Girls
  • Wink
  • I Can Make This Promise
  • The Canyon's Edge
  • Roll with It
  • Indian No More
  • Prairie Lotus
  • Chirp
  • Some Places More Than Others
  • Wildfire
  • Letters from Cuba
  • Stand Up, Yumi Chung!
  • When Stars Are Scattered
  • Tune It Out
  • Brother's Keeper
See similar books…
The New York Times says Lucy Jane Bledsoe's novel, A THIN BRIGHT LINE, "triumphs." Ms. Magazine calls her novel, THE EVOLUTION OF LOVE, "fabulous feminist fiction." Her collection of stories, LAVA FALLS, is just out. She loves to eat, hike, hang out with friends, and dreams a lot about sea mammals. She's been to Antarctica three times, and all that is in her novel, THE BIG BANG SYMPHONY. She also ...more

News & Interviews

  If you listen to NPR regularly, you’ve likely heard the voice of Shankar Vedantam, the longtime science correspondent and host of the radio...
15 likes · 2 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »