WildKat is a fast-paced survival story aimed at middle schoolers with a hunger for adventure. It tells the story of a gadget-rich twelve year old who must lose all her playthings before she can learn to have fun.
Kat Hollow is a whiz on the Wii and an ace on the iPhone, but how will she cope with deadly snakes and fire ants in the jungles of Southeast Asia? Readers of the games console generation are propelled into a world of leeches and pythons, flashfloods and snare wire—a place where grit, imagination and survival skills are the only currencies of value.
The novel opens with a snake attack. Kat’s kid brother is ambushed by a python on a family walk in the Singaporean jungle, and almost dies. A short while later, Kat’s scientist father loses his job and the Hollow family—severely rattled by these two events—starts to unravel. A mixture of trauma and financial need drives Kat’s mother to sell virtually all the family’s valuables—including the girl’s impressive stash of electronics.
Kat is left with nothing but a skateboard and a crusty old soap-making kit to keep her amused. As the only kid in her class with neither a smartphone nor an XBox, she loses credibility among her schoolmates and is ostracised. The days are dismal for the schoolgirl—and bleaker still when she has a fight with Jules, her closest pal, losing his friendship and trust in the process.
A chance encounter with a mysterious girl by the name of Forest brings an unexpected twist to Kat’s life. Forest lives on a remote, jungle-tangled island in the Asian tropics a short distance from Singapore, and Kat is both enthralled by the island and transformed by her new friendship. When Forest sets out to teach her the basics of jungle survival, Kat is an eager student. And a good job too: on a school expedition, she becomes embroiled in a terrifying castaway adventure involving her whole class, and it’s her knowledge of jungle craft and her cool-headedness that keep the group alive.
This is a story about heroism and loyalty aimed at every middle schooler who secretly dreams of creeping away from the high-tech urban world of adults and setting up camp in the forest with friends. The protagonist learns the values of tolerance, humility and inner resourcefulness. This contemporary novel celebrates the innocence of a ‘mindful’ childhood spent running free in nature, though the message is neither preachy nor anti-technology.
WildKat is book 1 in the series The Jungle Tin Chronicles.