by Holly Schindler
Just released: August 26, 2014
Genre: Paranormal, Thriller, YA
Hardback: 432 pages
The Lovely Bones meets Black Swan in this haunting psychological thriller with twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very last page.
It's too late for you.
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 new start.
But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger. Her fears are confirmed when she discovers the dead body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town's feral cats.
Claire knows there's more to this "accident" than meets the eye. But the closer she gets to finding out the truth, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself. . . .
Just the right amount of creepy, paranormal, thriller and YA drama.
This story is also jam packed with lots of different issues and aspects that come with surviving a brutal attack and experiencing a dead body while navigating high school as a new student. All of which provided twists and turns that kept me wondering throughout.
I liked how the main character, Claire, continued to be a strong survivor (kind of heroine) despite all the mishaps and close calls she encountered.
I also thought it was neat-o to see how cats were incorporated in this tale. Meow or rather, rawrrr.
Provide an introduction to one of the characters in the book which could include what inspired his / her creation.
Actually, FERAL started out as a middle grade mystery. As it grew increasingly darker, I began to suspect that it needed to be bumped up to the YA category. But my MG protagonist didn’t work anymore. She was decidedly thirteen—and we’re just not the same people at seventeen that we are at thirteen. I had to brainstorm a new main character. And that’s when I discovered Claire Cain…
Claire Cain, the main character, is smart—an award-winning journalism student. And she’s tough. She’s a survivor. After all, she made it through a terrible gang beating in her hometown of Chicago—a beating that occurred as retaliation for one of her news stories, and nearly ended her life. Physically, she’s on the road to recuperation. She’s attacked her physical therapy like it’s another class to master and get a solid “A” in. The beating, she insists, is behind her.
But as Claire rolls into Peculiar, Missouri with her father (who’s on sabbatical), it becomes clear that maybe she’s not quite as okay as she insists. She has dreams about the beating. She’s ignoring her best friend, whom she blames, at least in part, for the horrible injuries she suffered. And everything she encounters in Peculiar is heart-wrenchingly similar to the night of her beating: an ice storm, school uniforms, a guard at her school—it all makes her feel like her escape is no escape at all. And that’s playing with her mind, too.
Peculiar is also, well, Peculiar—Serena, a fellow high school and journalism student, has gone missing. And an urban legend surrounds a spirit in the high school basement; Serena was investigating this very legend right before her death. So when Claire begins to see things—the spirits of the town dead and Serena herself—what is she to believe? Are the legends about the town right, or is something else, something far darker, actually happening? What really happened to Serena? How strong IS Claire? Will Claire have the strength to face the truth?
Holly Schindler is the author of the critically acclaimed A BLUE SO DARK (Booklist starred review, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year silver medal recipient, IPPY Awards gold medal recipient) as well as PLAYING HURT (both YAs).
Her debut MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, also released in ’14, and became a favorite of teachers and librarians, who used the book as a read-aloud. Kirkus Reviews called THE JUNCTION “...a heartwarming and uplifting story...[that] shines...with vibrant themes of community, self-empowerment and artistic vision delivered with a satisfying verve.”
FERAL is Schindler’s third YA and first psychological thriller. Publishers Weekly gave FERAL a starred review, stating, “Opening with back-to-back scenes of exquisitely imagined yet very real horror, Schindler’s third YA novel hearkens to the uncompromising demands of her debut, A BLUE SO DARK…This time, the focus is on women’s voices and the consequences they suffer for speaking…This is a story about reclaiming and healing, a process that is scary, imperfect, and carries no guarantees.”
Schindler encourages readers to get in touch. Booksellers, librarians, and teachers can also contact her directly regarding Skype visits. She can be reached at hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com, and can also be found at hollyschindler.com, hollyschindler.blogspot.com, @holly_schindler, Facebook.com/HollySchindlerAuthor, and hollyschindler.tumblr.com.
WIN a signed hardcover of FERAL
Expires: September 17, 2014
a Rafflecopter giveaway
* review copy courtesy of book tour - check out the other stops here for more details on this book and goodies sponsored by the author.