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I Belong

Early Review: Feral by Holly Schindler

FeralTitle: Feral

Author: Holly Schindler

Genre: YA Mystery

Series: N/A

Publication Date: August 26, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 432 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062220209 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062220202 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Bridget


The Lovely Bones meets Black Swan in this haunting psychological thriller with twists and turns that will make you question everything you think you know.

It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew.

But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened.

But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley….

Holly Schindler’s gripping story is filled with heart-stopping twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very last page.

Quick & Dirty: Very unique mystery that took some twists I totally wasn’t expecting. There were a few times I got a little confused with what was going on, but overall this was a great read that I really enjoyed.

Opening Sentence: In the rugged, underbrush-riddled rural town of Peculiar, Missouri, at the beginning of a January sleet storm, and beneath the dimming orange hues of dusk, a body lay half out of the window that led to the high school basement.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Nine months ago 16 year old Claire Cain almost died. She was a very determined girl and loved doing journalism work. When her best friend was wrongly accused of selling drugs, Claire dug to the bottom of who was really responsible and exposed them. Everything turned out perfect, all charges were dropped against her friend and she won a literary award for the piece she wrote. But everything fell apart when she decided to walk home alone one night from the library and was brutally attacked by the gang that was really selling the drugs at her school. She was beaten so badly she almost didn’t make it and now she has to try and piece back her life.

Peculiar, Missouri is a weird little town in the middle of nowhere, but that is where Claire’s father is going to do his sabbatical for the next six months. Instead of staying in Chicago and all the memories it holds, Claire decides to start over in a new place. She still has nightmares of that night but if she could just get a fresh start then she knows that everything will get better and what better place to do that then Peculiar? But soon upon arriving to town Claire discovers the body of a local teenager. The girl’s death is ruled an accident but Claire gets a feeling that it wasn’t. As she starts to investigate weird things start to happen and soon Claire realizes that there is way more to this mystery then she ever thought possible.

Claire was a layered character. As the story progresses you slowly got to see so many different sides to her. She obviously went through a very traumatic experience recently that really affected her. She puts on a good front and acts like it didn’t hurt as deeply as it really did. But as the reader, you get to be inside her head and see how much damage was really done to her confidence and just over all well being. There were moments that it was hard to understand her and her actions, but for the most part by the end of the story everything made complete sense. I had a hard time connecting with Claire at first, but she slowly grew on me and I ended up really liking her.

Feral was an intense story full of mystery and suspense. From the first page, the story gripped me and I had a hard time putting the book down. I was surprised by the direction the story went and there were a few times I got a little lost, but by the end everything came together nicely. It is difficult for an author to surprise me, especially in a mystery novel, but I will admit that Schindler put in some twists that I totally wasn’t expecting. This is one of the reasons I just couldn’t put the book down, I would think I had the mystery figured out and Schindler would throw in something that would change everything. There were a few parts that did feel a little repetitive which caused the book to drag, but for the most part the pacing was great. This is the first book I have read by Schindler, but she has phenomenal writing so I will be checking out her other books. I would highly recommend this to anyone that likes a good murder/mystery story with lots of twists.

Notable Scene:

My God, she was staring at a human hand. Palm up. Fingers—those tiny branches were fingers—the tips painted red. No—not painted. Missing. The red meat beneath the skin was now exposed on each finger. The palm had been branded, “CHEATING.”

“What the—?” Claire breathed.

Claire leaned down for a better view, lying flat against the ice-covered field, her thick wool coat protecting her chest from the inches of snow. As she looked beneath the fallen tree limb, a glassy blue eye stared back at her. A brunette curl. More blue skin. Cheeks raw with scrapes that had been filled with ice. A jagged black hole along the tip of the nose. A mouth open at a grotesque angle; a clump of mud, marred by brown blades of dead grass, spilling out from behind front teeth.

She threw herself backward as the whole picture came into focus—a girl. A dead girl lay pinned beneath the heavy, fallen limb. Her legs, her arms, all filled with pink pits.

FTC Advisory:  Harper Teen provided me with a copy of Feral.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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