Seventeen year old Tracy Petrikoff loves the outdoors. She is an avid hunter with an unusual... proclivity for the animals she kills. Her family is heavily involved with dog sledding but following her mother's death, they struggle financially after her father gives up mushing and sells the majority of their sled dogs. Tracy keeps hoping to change his mind about her competing in upcoming mushing events, but after she is suspended from school for fighting, her dad grounds her from taking care of the remainder of their dogs and roaming the woods surrounding their home. Headstrong and stubborn, Tracy defies him to check her traps but on one of her outings, she is suddenly attacked by a stranger in the forest. When the man, Tom Hatch, shows up at her home not long after their encounter bleeding from a knife wound, Tracy is afraid she is responsible but her memories of their first meeting are somewhat vague. After her father hires drifter Jesse Goodwin to work in exchange for board, Tracy befriends him and she soon discovers Jesse is hiding many secrets.
Tracy is the novel's narrator and she is not exactly a likable or sympathetic protagonist. She is rather selfish, very impulsive and extremely defiant. She greatly misses her mother who completely understood her daughter's need to hunt and freely roam the surrounding woods. Tracy inherited her mom's abnormal need for hunting and ability to psychically connect to animals and people in the aftermath of quenching her bizarre appetite.
The Wild Inside is a slow-paced adventure that has unexpected supernatural/paranormal elements. The suspense aspect of the plot is quite interesting and Jesse is an intriguing addition to the cast of characters. However, Tracy makes such horrible decisions that she is unlikable and ultimately, irredeemable.2 1/2 *