I received this book for free from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker
Published by HarperCollins
Publication Date: October 21, 2014
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
Genres: Action & Adventure, Family, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
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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.
It’s no surprise that I have been wanting to read BEWARE THE WILD by Natalie C. Parker since it was first mentioned many many months ago. First of all, the cover is creepy gorgeous and I have a very hard time saying no to a creepy gorgeous cover. Second, the synopsis! I love southern gothic stuff and this sounded like the epitome of it. Mysterious swamp, loss of memory, loss of brother = must read right this second! I’m pleased to report that this book was just about as good as I had hoped!
Sterling and her brother get into a fight that leaves Phin so mad he decides to cross the forbidden barrier into the swamp. Nobody crosses that gate. If you do? You never come out. Stories have been passed down from generation to generation that the Sticks swamp has a curse that will suck you in and never let you out. But when a girl returns in her brother’s place, everything changes. Nobody remembers Phin. Lenora May has always been there in everyone else’s mind. Only Sterling remembers her brother. She refuses to let this random girl take over. With the help of Heath, the only other person who surprisingly remembers, she is determined to save her brother and make things go back the way they were.
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with this type of setting but I can tell you that Parker knows how to create a spooky, yet thrilling, setting. I wanted to go into the swamp to discover its secrets but then again I didn’t because of the stories that have been told about it. I was warring with myself about it constantly, much like Sterling. You instantly are captured into the swamp’s atmosphere. I think this is one of my favorite things about this book.
The overall plot was just as captivating. I didn’t know why or how this girl inserted herself into everyone’s life and completely erased Sterling’s brother. It baffled me. I wanted to know if Phin was okay and if there was a way to get him back. Sterling and Heath had an interesting connection and I liked seeing them develop a possible relationship. Some of it was rushed but given the circumstances, it sort of had to be. I read this book within a couple of days and that is always a good sign to me. It means I liked what I was reading and I cared enough about the storyline to find out the conclusion. One thing that did bug me though is the explanation for how the whole town forgets people and how they all know Lenora May as if she’d been there her whole life. It didn’t really make sense…at all. I know the swamp has magical powers but, I don’t know, it just didn’t seem logical.
Overall, I’d definitely say give this book a read! It’s mysterious, chilling, and you’ll find yourself caring about certain characters way more than you had originally planned to. The ending is exciting and heartbreaking all at the same time. I think you’ll like it!