Beware the Wild

Featured
 
4.5 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
2315 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

Rosenhart Book I 'The Sight'
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
"Be the Legend, Join the Quest" The Rosenhart...
Fabric of a Generation
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
For one teen, life's greatest adventure isn't time travel but...
Close Calls: How Eleven US Presidents Escaped from the Brink of Death
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Historians tell the stories of tragic and untimely presidential deaths,...
Imber (Book One of The Thanatos Trilogy)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The locks are failing. The...
Awesome Dog 5000 (#1)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Marty, Ralph, and Skyler might make the ultimate secret combo...
Althea Gibson: The Story of Tennis' Fleet-of-Foot Girl
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Althea Gibson was the quickest, tallest, most fearless athlete in...
The Big Game
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Danny Owens is dedicating his seventh-grade season to his Super...
Race to the Sun
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lately, seventh grader Nizhoni Begay has been able to detect...
Suffragette: The Battle for Equality
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Imprisonment, hunger strikes, suffrajitsu — the decades-long fight for women’s...
Catherine's War
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A magnificent narrative inspired by a true survival story that...
Dangerous Alliance
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lady Victoria Aston has everything she could want: an older...
Dugout: The Zombie Steals Home
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Twins Stacy and Gina Cavallaro are on rival little league...

Latest Member Reviews

Cub
Cub
 
5.0
"Cindy finds that middle school in the early 1970s is fairly stressful-- all the cool girls are wearing elephant bells..."
Close Calls: How Eleven US Presidents Escaped from the Brink of Death
 
5.0
"There was a recent Jeopardy! champion who apparently got himself up to speed on many areas of knowledge by reading..."
All You Need Is a Pencil: The Totally Sick Sick-Day Activity Book
 
5.0
"THE TOTALLY SICK SICK-DAY ACTIVITY BOOK is exactly what the title describes. There are crossword puzzles, places to doodle, word..."
Animazes
 
5.0
"ANIMAZES shows the migration patterns of fourteen different creatures. It shows that there are several different paths these creatures can..."
Baby Loves the Five Senses: Hearing!
 
4.7
"BABY LOVES THE FIVE SENSES: HEARING teaches everything you need to know about how hearing, the ears, and sound all..."
Hard Work, but It's Worth It: The Life of Jimmy Carter
 
5.0
"Before reading this, I didn't know much about Jimmy Carter except that he had been one of the presidents. I..."
Ready to Fly: How Sylvia Townsend Became the Bookmobile Ballerina
 
5.0
"READY TO FLY is a biography of Sylvia Townsend and how she became a ballerina. She always loved to dance..."
Astro Kittens: Cosmic Machines (Astro Kittens)
 
5.0
"An excellent read for children who love machines and/or space, ASTRO KITTENS: INTO THE UNKNOWN takes preschoolers for an unforgettable..."
Astro Kittens: Into the Unknown (Astro Kittens)
 
4.7
"Wish you could teach your toddler about outer space and the basis for science-fiction? If so- or you just love..."
Harry Potter Origami
 
4.0
"Scholastic Inc brings origami and Harry Potter together in this book with fifteen foldable crafts! Each one has a different..."
Imagine
 
5.0
"IMAGINE is a gorgeous autobiographical poem with accompanying artwork and an inspirational tone. Herrera was the U.S Poet Laureate and..."
Awesome Achievers in Technology: Super and Strange Facts about 12 Almost Famous History Makers
 
4.3
"AWESOME ACHIEVERS IN TECHNOLOGY is an approachable middle grade non-fiction book about people behind every day inventions that you may..."
Kindergarten Big Skills Workbook: Sorting for Stem
 
5.0
"'Sorting for STEM Big Skills Workbook' deals with core concepts. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are the focus in this..."
Math Practice; Extra Big Skills Workbook
 
5.0
"'Math Practice Extra Big Skills Workbook' has a large variety of fun activities to help students build their math knowledge...."
Kindergarten Skills Workbook: Handwriting
 
5.0
"'Handwriting Skills Workbook' does a great job of informing students and parents alike about the importance of focusing on how..."
Flights of Fancy: Creative Inspiration from Ten Award-Winning Authors and Illustrators
 
4.3
"'Flights of Fancy: Creative Inspiration from Ten Award-Winning Authors and Illustrators' is a great help to aspiring authors, as it..."
Titan and the Wild Boars: The True Cave Rescue of the Thai Soccer Team
 
4.3
"TITAN AND THE WILD BOARS tells the true story of the trapped soccer team and their rescue in the caves..."
Learning Mats: Match, Trace & Write Numbers
 
5.0
"MATCH TRACE & WRITE NUMBERS introduces and helps build math skills at an early age. It's teaches them counting, simple..."
It Began with a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way
 
4.3
"IT BEGAN WITH A PAGE brings us through the journey of Gyo Fujikawa, an incredible Japanese artist and author. Since..."
Tinyville Town: I'm a Firefighter
 
4.0
"I'M A FIREFIGHTER takes us into the daily life of a firefighter. While they're working, they sleep at the fire..."