Twelve year-old Kester Jaynes has a big problem, - he can’t speak. Even worse, he doesn’t know why he can’t speak. The only thing he knows is that he hasn’t been able to say a word since his mother’s death six years ago.
Not only that, he’s locked up in a home for troubled children for reasons also unknown to him. Oh, and just to throw another wrench in the gears, the outside world has all but completely fallen apart. It’s been ravaged by global warming and a disease called “the red-eye,” which has rendered all but a few animals extinct and threatens humans with the same fate.
So, locked up, depressed, scared out of his wits, Kester is at the bottom of the barrel. Scratch that, he’s fallen through the bottom of the barrel into a pit of…well I was going to say poisonous snakes, but they’re all extinct.
Then one day while alone in his cell, Kester hears someone talking to him. It is then that he realizes it isn’t someone but something. Yes, Kester realizes that it is a cockroach that’s speaking to him and that they can communicate. Not only that, Kester soon learns that he can “talk” to other animals in his cell.
With the help of his varmint friends, Kester escapes the confines of his prison, only to learn that he has been chosen by the few remaining animals, the “last wild,” to save them from complete extinction. While on his adventure Kester starts to unravel the lies surrounding the deadly red-eye disease, the disappearance of the animals and his estrangement from his family.
Torday regularly switches between grim, heart-pounding and funny scenes, all of which flow seamlessly around Kester and his mission to discover the truth. The Last Wild is a highly entertaining and thought-provoking novel, one that shouldn’t be missed. I recommend it to ages 8 and up.