“Addictive from its first pages, Colleen McKeegan’s The Wild One mines all the complexities and darkness of young women in the battleground of summer camp, fashioning a riveting tale of secrets, shame and a harrowing reckoning.”—New York Times bestselling author Megan Abbott
“I couldn't put down this smart and astute page-turning debut. Colleen McKeegan has beautifully crafted a narrative that explores the ways trauma and societal expectations shape the women we become. The engaging prose and razor-sharp twists and turns will keep readers on the edges of their seats until the very last page.”—Jo Piazza, internationally bestselling author of Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win and We Are Not Like Them
In this dark and twisted coming-of-age thriller, a deadly childhood secret that binds three young women threatens to destroy their lives.
Amanda Brooks is a born-and-bred New Yorker with an envious life: she’s in a great graduate school program, lives in a cozy Tribeca apartment, and is head-over-heels for her handsome, committed boyfriend. But Amanda’s life isn’t as picture perfect as it seems. For over a decade she’s been hiding a dark secret—a secret that goes back to that summer at Camp Catalpa when a man died in the woods. Fellow campers Catherine and Meg were there too, and in the years since, not one of them has ever spoken about what happened that day.
Until Amanda slips—and the truth threatens to explode the tightly controlled façade of her life.
When her past begins to poison her present, threatening her relationship, Amanda has no one to turn to except the two women who know her most monstrous self. Reuniting with Catherine and Meg one last time, Amanda is desperate to put the demons of that twisted summer to rest.
But when trusting anyone, even one another, starts to feel like a wildly risky proposition, just how far will these three go to keep the truth from emerging—and their lives from unraveling?
About the Author
Colleen McKeegan is a writer and editor whose work at Marie Claire was nominated for a National Magazine Award. She has also held staff and freelance roles at various publications, including The Cut, Fast Company, Bloomberg, and Fortune. A native of Allentown, Pennsylvania, and a graduate of Georgetown University, Colleen now lives with her family in New York. As a child, she spent five summers at an all-girls sleepaway camp in the Poconos. The Wild One is Colleen’s debut novel.
"This audacious, revelatory début from a lauded magazine writer exposes the lies we tell ourselves in order to pursue our best lives . . . McKeegan skewers platitudes of American success and the delicate threads that bind our relationships." — Oprah Daily
"The story, which alternates between 'then' and 'now,' is a gripping mystery, but equally as compelling is McKeegan’s exploration of the complicated psyche of female friendships, unresolved trauma, and the desperate lengths girls will go to in order to fit in." — Elle (Must-Read Books of the Summer)
"It’s a sizzling thriller that will have you rushing toward the end." — Cosmopolitan
"McKeegan’s story will get you as hooked as a camper taking the first bite of an ice cream sandwich on the Fourth of July. Meg, Catherine, and our heroine of sorts, Amanda, were forever bonded when Amanda killed a man at an East Coast summer camp as a 12-year-old. Ten years and much drifting later, Amanda has gathered the trio to confront the violence of their collective past. It’s a story about the sometimes bloody, nightmarish experience of coming of age." — Glamour (The Best New Books of June 2022)
"If you loved Yellowjackets, you'll be obsessed with former Marie Claire editor Colleen McKeegan's debut—a coming-of-age thriller about a long-ago summer camp secret that threatens to destroy Amanda Brooks's life." — Marie Claire (Most Eagerly Anticipated Fiction by Women in 2022)
“This propulsive thriller will keep you up long after lights out.” — Good Housekeeping
"Amanda Brooks has what looks like a perfect life — but she’s been carrying a dark secret for years, ever since that fateful day at summer camp. When she lets the truth slip, the fallout threatens to destroy everything she’s built." — Bustle (Most Anticipated Books of June 2022)
"[The Wild One] has hints of Tana French and Tara Isabella Burton without being as dark. An engaging thriller that touches on tough topics without becoming voyeuristic." — Kirkus Reviews
“If you like your s'mores with a side of suspense, The Wild One serves up plenty of sticky situations (of both varieties) to devour.” — People (Best New Books of the Week)
“Readers will be impressed by her realistic depictions of relationships between young girls as well as scenes of camp life, a classic setting for suspense stories. A quick, easy, and suspenseful read.” — Booklist
"The past comes back to bite in McKeegan's thrilling novel." — Popsugar
"A summer camp thriller with Yellowjackets vibes? We’ve never said ‘yes’ so fast. This one jumps between two timelines as you follow three friends who are haunted by something horrible from their time at Camp Catalpa years ago. Will the past come back to haunt them? Probably. Will you be entertained while it’s happening? Definitely." — The Skimm
"Addictive from its first pages, Colleen McKeegan’s The Wild One mines all the complexities and darkness of young women in the battleground of summer camp, fashioning a riveting tale of secrets, shame and a harrowing reckoning." — Megan Abbott, Edgar Award-winning author of The Turnout and Dare Me
"I couldn't put down this smart and astute page-turning debut. Colleen McKeegan has beautifully crafted a narrative that explores the ways trauma and societal expectations shape the women we become. The engaging prose and razor-sharp twists and turns will keep readers on the edges of their seats until the very last page." — Jo Piazza, International bestselling author of Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win and We Are Not Like Them
"At once insightful and exhilarating, The Wild One exposes the darker side of summer camp and of the girls bound together and irreparably divided by a long-buried secret. Colleen McKeegan plunges readers into the crucible of young adulthood, with all of its brutal hierarchies and impossible expectations. The result is a haunting look at the way that, for young women, growing up can mean discovering the potential for violence that hums just underneath the surface of every moment—and perhaps most perilously within themselves." — Caitlin Mullen, Edgar Award-winning author of Please See Us