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Young Adult Fiction 552
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Gorgeously atmospheric, lyrical and fraught with tension, BEWARE THE WILD is a stunning debut. Fans of southern Gothic will want to drop everything and go buy this book. The setting, as much a character in the book as the characters themselves, is steeped in authentic Louisiana culture, and the tired stereotypes that litter many books purporting to be southern are refreshingly absent. The small town atmosphere, the uneasy mesh of religion and superstition, and the swamp that dominates Sticks, Louisiana are brilliantly rendered in spare, beautiful prose that manages to be both evocative and straightforward.

The characters are vividly portrayed--flawed, redemptive people who seem as real as the reader herself. Even characters who don't have page time but are simply memories come to life within the story. Readers who love romance will adore the developing relationship between Sterling and Heath, readers who want contemporary family drama/dynamics will love the complicated relationship between Sterling and her brother Phin, and readers who want magical characters who present danger and intrigue will have that wish granted in spades.

The pacing is brilliantly done. The story manages to evoke the slow, sleepy feel of a hot Louisiana summer while still moving briskly enough to keep readers turning pages long into the night. Every single page of this book works beautifully to keep the reader engaged and to unfurl a story that is magical, atmospheric, and full of heart.

BEWARE THE WILD is a stunning debut from a talented author and will capture the hearts of readers who love southern Gothic, contemporary romance, and family drama.
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