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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Wandering Wild by Jessica Taylor - Interview, Book Review & Giveaway

About Jessica Taylor

Jessica Taylor adores atmospheric settings, dangerous girls, and characters who sneak out late at night. Her debut novel, Wandering Wild, received a starred review from VOYA and is available now. Her next two books, starting with A Map for Lost Girls, will be published in 2018 and 2019 by Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin. She lives in Northern California with a few degrees she isn't using, one dog, and many teetering towers of books.

1. Could you tell a bit about yourself?

I live in Northern California, where I’ve been all my life. I love dogs, warm weather, white-sand beaches, sandals, playing Blackjack, waterskiing, and of course, books.

2. Wandering Wild is about a teenage girl who lives an unusual life as a wanderer. How did you get that idea?

When I started writing, I knew I wanted to explore themes of “finding a place in this world” and “girl seeking autonomy,” which reminded me of stories I heard as a child. Growing up, I had a great aunt who would tell the most incredible tales of living a nomadic lifestyle as a child with her family in the ‘60s, while stealing and gambling their way into enough money to get by.

3. What do you like the most about Tal?

Tal is a strong character who is somewhat unfeeling at times—or she pretends to be unfeeling to stop her emotions from getting in the way of what needs to be done.

4. Life on the road isn’t a very honest life for Tal and her brother. How was it to write about characters who have to do some bad things to survive?

Thrilling! I love YA that doesn’t tiptoe around hard issues. My absolute favorite books are those that make you root for someone or something you ordinarily wouldn’t want to see succeed.

5. Could you tell a bit more about your writing (where, when, how, etc.)?

I’m a horrible night owl. When I’m drafting or revising, I stay up all night and do my best impersonation of a zombie throughout the day. I write in bed or sitting on my couch, usually with my dog beside me. Sometimes I listen to playlists I create for each novel, especially if I’m having a hard time getting into the emotional landscape of a scene.

6. What are your four favorite YA novels?

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer, and Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma.

7. You write magic realism, what does magic mean to you?

My favorite definition of magical realism is this: A story that is not decidedly supernatural but can possibly encompass the supernatural. I love the definition because I think we’re all starring in own stories, and if we stopped and looked around, we’d find a little magic.

8. Did it take you long to become a published author and how did it happen?

In May of 2010, I started writing, so it took six years. When I started writing, I was halfway through law school. By the time law school ended, I knew I couldn’t bear to practice law, and I knew being a young adult author was my dream job. I wouldn’t say that I left the law to be a writer, but I did decide to take two years to focus solely on writing and see where it took me. About six months later, I had an agent. In six more months, I had a book deal. Unfortunately, that deal was with Egmont, which closed before publishing Wandering Wild. Sky Pony—and my fabulous editor—saved the day and reacquired Wandering Wild.

9. What do you like about YA?

The teen years are the most interesting to me. It’s the point in everyone’s life when they’re suddenly not just cruising. They have to make plans for the future and decide who they’re going to be while experiencing some of life’s most meaningful “firsts.” It’s also the time when most people finally see their parents as human beings with actual flaws.

10. What are your plans for the future?

My next two young adult novels will be published by Dial/Penguin in 2018 and 2019. The first is a contemporary story called A Map for Lost Girls. It’s about two sisters and the way they destroy themselves and their relationship—and how they put it all back together after they’re stranded on a deserted island.

Book review
Amazon USA Amazon UK
Review by Suze
Tal is a Wanderer. Her younger brother Wen is the only family member she has left. They're traveling from place to place with a group of people. They are never safe and they need to make money for the camp leader. Wen and Tal con people to get their much needed cash. Not everyone in the camp is friendly and Tal always needs to look over her shoulder, especially if she wants to protect Wen.

 Tal is sixteen years old and she doesn't go to school. She likes the freedom of the wandering, but that changes when she meets Spencer. Spencer has a roof over his head and his parents earn a good living. Tal would love to spend more time with Spencer. She knows she will have to go again though. Is she willing to risk a broken heart for someone who isn't from her world, a guy she inevitably needs to leave behind?
Wandering Wild is a beautiful story about a fierce wandering girl who lies, steals and manipulates. Tal doesn't have any problems to make people part with their cash. She's good at what she does and she and her brother Wen have earned quite a bit of money. Being with the Wanderers might seem like a free lifestyle, but it actually isn't. Wen and Tal have reasons to be scared and it broke my heart to read about them. I had tears in my eyes when I read about their childhood. It's heartbreaking, but they're both admirably strong and resilient and they can deal with anything that comes their way.
I loved the romance aspect for Wandering Wild. Spencer is such a sweet guy. Tal can't be completely honest with him and she's a dangerous choice for him to hang out with. Like Tal he isn't afraid to follow his heart though and they can't stay away from one another. They're a special couple with a deep connection and plenty of chemistry.
Wandering Wild is a creative story with unusual main characters. I liked that very much. I enjoyed reading about the wandering and conning. Tal and Wen are both kind and lovely even though they take things from people. I liked the variety of contrasts. Jessica Taylor writes about them in fantastic sentences. I loved Tal's voice and seeing the world through her eyes made me smile and cry at the same time. She's really smart and has a clever worldview. Jessica Taylor describes Tal's journey in a vivid and imaginative way. She has a great writing style and I think Wandering Wild is an amazing book.


One international winner will receive a hardcover copy of Wandering Wild.

One US winner will receive a hardcover copy of Wandering Wild.


  1. Hi thank you so much for this opportunity ��

  2. I absolutely love the synopsis! Tal seems so fierce, that I love it!!! Good job Jessica, I wouldn't be surprised to see you in league with top notch authors in the future. Good luck!

  3. Sounds great . Thank you for the opportunity .

  4. Thanks for joining the #16DABash!


  5. Your great aunt had the childhood we all wish we'd had.

  6. Thank you for the giveaway, it sounds like a very exciting book!

  7. Hi, Thanks for the giveaway and congratulation Jessica for your first book :) Good Luck in your job

  8. interesting interview

  9. Thanks for the chance, looking forward to read it!!!!

  10. I love the book cover. Looks interesting!

  11. I'll have to snag myself a copy of this one!

  12. I agree with Jessica that magic is all around us and we just need to keep our eyes and our heart open to recognise it. I think that having a curious imagination is in itself magic and reading books like Jessica's - especially when young - can inspire us with hope and mystery.

  13. Jessica, the book seems amazing!

  14. Sounds like an interesting book.

  15. I enjoyed the book review. Thanks for sharing. Loved the interview too.

  16. I have similar opinions about YA. The book synopsis sounds interesting, will definitely check it out!

  17. Sounds great, Wish I was going to be in Texas I would go to your signing, but I am not, so I will cross my fingers to win one!! Thank you for the giveaway it sounds good

  18. Sounds great, Wish I was going to be in Texas I would go to your signing, but I am not, so I will cross my fingers to win one!! Thank you for the giveaway it sounds good

  19. Thank you for the chance. :)

  20. What is your ideal getaway dream vacation?

  21. Thank you for this wonderful giveaway. I looked inot this book and would love to read it.

  22. The story sounds really interesting and I love the cover

  23. this sounds fab. id love to read it

  24. Congrats on the book. I love the cover and want to read it.

  25. this looks like a very intruiguing read xx

  26. It would be fantastic to win a hardcover
    copy of Wandering Wild by Jessica Taylor.
    I enjoyed reading your interview with Jessica
    and this sounds like a book i would enjoy reading.
    Thank you for having this giveaway.

  27. Thank you for the chance of entering your giveaway.

  28. Congratulations on your book xxx

  29. Congratulations on your book - it sounds great! x

  30. This sounds like a really good book. I like the idea behind it