Beware the Wild

Featured
 
4.5 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
2636 0
Beware the Wild
Publisher
Age Range
12+
Release Date
October 21, 2014
ISBN
0062241524
Buy This Book
      
Southern Gothic gets a whole new twist in this debut novel, sure to appeal to fans of the New York Times bestselling Beautiful Creatures series. The swamp in Sterling's small Louisiana town proves to have a power over its inhabitants when her brother disappears and no one but Sterling even remembers that he existed. Now Sterling, with the help of brooding loner Heath, who's had his own creepy experience with the swamp, must fight back and reclaim what—and who—the swamp has taken. Beware the Wild is a riveting and atmospheric page-turner readers won't want to miss

Editor reviews

2 reviews

Spine-Tingling
(Updated: February 02, 2016)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Set in Louisiana in an ultra small-town (with the rather tongue-in-cheek name of ‘Sticks’), this YA urban fantasy presents with memorable characters and a deliciously eerie bayou ambiance.

Ever since they were children surviving the abuse of their alcoholic father, Sterling has always relied on her older brother, Phin. So when Phin announces he’s going off to college, Sterling rails against his “abandonment” the only way she knows how. Her passive but dangerous self-neglect incites a fight between them, and Phin takes off into the sinister swamp that everyone in town knows you should never enter. While waiting for her brother’s reemergence, Sterling instead witnesses a girl walk out of the swamp and straight into the life that Phin once held. The mysterious Lenora May replaces all traces of Phin in an instant—including everyone’s memories of him. Everyone, that is, except for Sterling. Determined to get her brother back, she is aided by her deeply skeptical best friend, and a troubled boy from her high school class who has good reason to believe her story…

What I Liked:

While the Southern gothic theme bears some resemblance to Beautiful Creatures, the prose is smoother, tighter, and all around more pleasant as an experience. Parker’s characterization of both people and settings paints a vividly immersive mental picture, effectively conveying the good, the bad, and the creepy—all with a cadence one could almost equate to a literary dance. Her voice is uncommon and promising. And the first-person present-tense telling (solely from Sterling’s POV) was the least obtrusive I’ve come across in recent memory.

This reader VERY much appreciated the book’s nuanced depiction of anorexia. Unlike with some YA where the characters essentially become their mental illness, it was shown as a persisting and comprehensive flaw—more a passive mode of control rather than an active fixation on weight or body image. Sterling’s abusive past with her alcoholic father and unhealthy co-dependency on her brother culminate into to reverse of acting out: a willful negligence and disinterest. But her family and friends are anything but passive over the issue. Her support structure is refreshingly strong, caring, and observant—in spite of her unfortunate childhood background.

On a similar note, I rather enjoyed the parallels of the inter-reliant (yet detrimental) brother/sister relationships. The symmetry was rousing without feeling too intentional. In a way, Sterling is to Phin what Fisher is to May—destructively clingy. While dependency was once a matter of survival, it has become a stagnant thing that holds them back.

What Didn’t Work For Me:

Unfortunately there were a few hints of author intrusion, primarily early on. The general impression was a needlessly inserted political agenda, blatantly catering to an offensive stereotype. Case in point:
"Darold's never been invited to join them. He says it's because he's not yet ancient enough to need a rocker, but I'm convinced half of them will vote Democrat before they let a black man join their ranks."

The romantic angle was a little underwhelming. (Although, granted, the focus is far more on the plot than on romance.) There were times the pacing seemed to suffer from the distractions of attraction. At one point the MC puts her mission of retrieving her brother on hold so she can go on a date.

While the worldbuilding started out uniquely compelling, it steadily depleted in momentum and believability as the story progressed. The eventual solution found for freeing people from the symbiotic bonds of the mystical swamp was both sketchy and confusing. This reader would have preferred more clearly defined rules and boundaries of the magics at work—however much this fleshing out would have undoubtedly inflated the page count.

Overall, this was an entertaining low-fantasy read—bewitching in writing style and noteworthy in concept.

Favorite Quotes:

"There's always a little piece of truth stuck inside a good pretending."

"There's one surefire way to annoy a sibling and that's to stand around their friends while being young."
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Riveting
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
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.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Even and Odd
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Even and Odd are sisters who share magic. Lately, though,...
Bee a Good Human: A Pollinators' Guide to a Better Life
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Combining inspiration, humor, and entomology, Instagram artist Ali Beckman (@SoFlyTaxidermy)...
Goodnight, Little Bunny
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Meet Little Bunny on the day that she ventures out...
Flying Over Water
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
N.H. Senzai and Shannon Hitchcock expertly craft the intersection of...
Rukhsanna Guidroz
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Samira thinks of her life as before and after: before...
Not Now, Cow
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In this hilarious picture book, all of the farm animals...
Cucu! en el Mar/Peekaboo! in the Ocean
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Peekaboo! Who's hiding in the ocean? Lift the flap to...
Family Reunion
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In this contemporary #OwnVoices tale, a boy is reluctant to...
A Season of Sinister Dreams
 
4.3
 
5.0 (1)
Furyborn meets A Curse So Dark and Lonely in this...
The Whaler's Daughter
 
0.0
 
5.0 (1)
In 1910, twelve-year-old Savannah lives with her widowed father on...
The Neighborhood Surprise
 
4.0
 
5.0 (1)
All the children in the neighborhood like Mrs. Fig. She...
Jet the Cat (Is Not a Cat)
 
5.0
 
5.0 (1)
Jet is not like any other cat . . ....

Latest Member Reviews

 
5.0
"Am here to testify what this great spell caster done for me. i never believe in spell casting, until when..."
Smoke and Mirrors: The Heartstone
 
5.0
"Am here to testify what this great spell caster done for me. i never believe in spell casting, until when..."
The Whaler's Daughter
 
5.0
"Am here to testify what this great spell caster done for me. i never believe in spell casting, until when..."
The Curie Society
 
5.0
"Am here to testify what this great spell caster done for me. i never believe in spell casting, until when..."
My High School Valentine Boyfriend
 
4.5
"My High School Valentine Boyfriend is a swoony, sweet teen romance. Shay and Finn are matched to work together on..."
The Lost Legends
 
5.0
"The Lost Legends is one of those books that has everything in it. A princess, an evil king, pirates, a..."
Blade of Mad Vision
 
5.0
"Loved it! It makes me want to be an artist and a fencer and learn languages and go on adventures..."
The Curie Society
 
4.2
"Three roommates at Edmonds University all face different challenges in settling into college life. Biologist Simone is very young to..."
The First Holidays
 
5.0
"‘The First Holidays’ by Cait Marie is a sweet story of friendship and love. Readers will feel the warmth between..."
The King's Daughter: A Girl Lost In Time
 
5.0
"LOVE SPELL TO BRING BACK EX LOVER AND RESTORE BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS, WhatsApp +2347059387282 I want to thank..."
The Promised Prince
 
5.0
"Hello viewers, I am Eva Joe, from the USA, i want to use this opportunity to thank Dr. DAVID ..."
The Promised Prince
 
4.3
"When Renna goes swimming in a pond, she never expects to meet a boy named Trev in the most unladylike..."
Moon & Shadow: A tale of Liamec (Tales of Liamec Book 1)
 
4.3
"Overall, This book was different from anything I've read in a while. It was more like a folktale which was..."
The Raven and the Dove
 
5.0
"I've honestly had my eye on this book for a while, and finally decided to pick it up. As the..."
Fate Calling
 
5.0
"Fate Calling by Lindsay Grace is a beautifully written fae fantasy about a young human girl named Aislinn and a..."
Reign of Secrets
 
3.8
"What worked: The magical aspect of this book had me turning pages quickly. It was easy to read and..."
The Lightbringer: Through the Elder Stone
 
5.0
"The Lightbringer plays on that classic trope of light vs dark, but in a fresh way with unheard of magical..."
Fate Calling
 
5.0
"When Aislinn and Catriona are taken into the fae realm, their fate falls into the hands of a broody prince/rightful..."
With Shield and Ink and Bone
 
4.8
"The story: A Viking, Liv has earned her shield and is set to take her place as a shield..."
With Shield and Ink and Bone
 
4.5
"For those who can't get enough of Vikings, Norse Mythology, and kick-butt female leads, this one is for you. ..."