Release Date: October 21, 2014
Genre: Southern Gothic YA, mystery, paranormal
Holy wow, I loved this! This book just confirmed my new obsession with the Southern Gothic genre. Here’s your synopsis from Amazon:
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.
1. I don’t live in the South and I’ve never visited, so the town of Sticks, Louisiana was like a whole new world for me.
One of the things I love most about the Southern Gothic genre is the look into the life of Southerners. I’m from the Midwest (Nebraska), but I was raised in Las Vegas, Nevada where we don’t really have that small town, known everyone since you were in diapers, knowing everyone’s business mentality. The town itself was like a character to me because it wasn’t anything that I am used to. Everyone knows everyone’s past and the locals have mannerisms and customs that are completely foreign to me. The town of Sticks likes to ignore its problems with the swamp – and problems in general – which makes Sterling a fish out of water when she goes searching for the truth.
2. The swamp itself was the main character and that was so interesting to me.
Coming from somewhere that doesn’t have a swamp, (I really only studied them in school) it was awesome to see a town that sits right on a swamp. The swamp itself has its own mythology. Old Mrs. Clary who runs the General Store is the expert on the swamp and makes charms to protect people from its magic. The townspeople erect a fence around the swamp and decorate it with Mardi Gras beads and voodoo like protection charms to keep themselves safe from the swamp. As far as they know, the swamp itself is a sinister creature. Even after Sterling finds out the truth about the swamp, the town still believes in the swamp’s power. I’m trying my hardest not to give you any spoilers, so I apologize for being so vague.
3. I really loved Sterling as a main character.
Sterling starts as this girl who is pretty much throwing a temper tantrum because her brother – really, her protector for her entire life – is leaving for college and she sees it as her death sentence. Phineas – her brother – has spent his entire life sheltering Sterling from their abusive father, fights, and general unpleasantness. It is arguable that he has really prevented her from living any sort of life. So, when he disappears and no one remembers him, she continues to waste away more. I like to think of her lack of eating as a hunger strike, showing her brother that she WILL die when he leaves her for college at Tulane University. As the story goes on, though, she develops into this strong and formidable young woman. I really enjoyed her character development through this book.
4. The magic, mythology, and craziness of this town are so super awesome, that I almost want to live in this book.
Yes, there is scary magic that happens because of the swamp, but I still want to live in a town with a cool, evil swamp! People rarely go beyond the fence they’ve built, and the first time Sterling does it in the book, I was petrified. I was actually sweating. Sterling is on a mission to save her brother. Shortly after her brother disappears, a girl emerges from the swamp – her name is Lenora May, what a Southern name – and takes Phineas’s place in everyone’s mind as Sterling’s sister. This sets the entire story in motion so Sterling can go into the swamp to save her brother. Every scene that takes place in the swamp is terrifying and so incredibly awesome all at the same time. If you like small town mythology and magic, this is definitely the book for you.
OVERALL: four stars!! I loved this book! It dragged a bit towards the beginning, but once crazy stuff started happening, it did NOT stop until the very end. I like how this book stuck to the rules of the swamp and magic that it put forth at the beginning. You don’t know who to trust and you’re guessing at every turn. I loved that about this book! If you love Southern Gothic, or have never read anything from the genre, give this book a try! It’s a super fun and fast ride that’ll keep you guessing until the end! Click the link below to order!
Beware the Wild is a riveting and atmospheric page-turner readers won’t want to miss.