WILD & CHANCE by Allen Zadoff


Age Range: 9 - 12
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A superintelligent amnesiac dog and a boy flee their pursuers.

In first-person, present-tense narration, a girl wakes up on a yacht with no memories—and must promptly bail as the yacht is blown up by soldiers. Once on shore, she gets picked up by a guy needing an entrant to an illegal dog fight—because the narrator is a dog. Luckily, superior physical abilities go along with her superintelligence, and after a swift fight she escapes. She rescues an actual human boy, Chance, from some bullies, and he names her Wild. Chance lives in a group home but is excited about an upcoming court hearing to reunite him with his mother, who’s in recovery from substance abuse. The two fumble their way through obtaining technology that will enable Chance to understand her and fleeing the deadly intentions of (fake) animal-control officers. The unlikely pair is assisted, and soon joined, by hacker Junebug. In between car chases and other action scenes they uncover the secrets of the military organization chasing Wild—and what exactly Wild is. Some dog-on-dog violence may cause readers to turn their heads, and deadly violence toward humans is implied; these and other dark elements are not sensationalized while also giving protagonists and readers opportunities to think for themselves. Chance is white, and brown-skinned Junebug describes herself (a little disingenuously, it turns out) as “a mutt.”

An action-heavy adventure for plot-loving readers ready for some darkness. (Science fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 28th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-368-05319-8
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2020


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