|Beware the Wild|
by Natalie C. Parker
"It's an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp -- the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn't return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.
Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp's done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance -- and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.
This debut novel is full of atmosphere, twists and turns, and a swoon-worthy romance."
While this book wasn't exactly scary, there was an eerie, sinister feeling through the whole thing. In a way, the swamp was the main character. It is a menacing presence on every page. This book kind of reminded me of Chime, but set in the South instead of in England. However, the words in this one didn't sing to me like they did in Chime. I liked it, though. The characters, both main and secondary, were really interesting. Even the character you're supposed to hate grows on you. And the plot was ingenious. Although the ending goes the way you think you want it to, it is still sad. Beware the Wild is a fine first effort, and I look forward to reading what's next for this author.
Areas of concern:
A little bit of cussing.
The main character had an abusive father who left the family years ago, but she remembers instances of abuse.
A couple of mild kisses.
An atmospheric tension throughout.
Kirkus Reviews - Ages 12+
School Library Journal - Grades 8+