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Review: Feral by Holly Schindler

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Holly Schindler

Genre: YA HorrorMystery
Hardback: 432 Pages
Publication: August 26, 2014
by HarperTeen


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.

◆ A copy was provided by Harper Collins for review ◆

Claire Cain was an award-winning high school journalist in Chicago when she was beaten nearly to death for a story. Serena Sims lost her life while pursuing a lead in Peculiar, Missouri. Their stories intersect when Claire accidentally discovers Serena's body surrounded by the town's feral cats in the icy woods behind the high school. Serena’s death is ruled an accident, but Claire gets a feeling that it is not. As she starts to investigate, weird things start to happen.

I love Claire’s strength and bravery to move forward after such a brutal attack. Ever since Claire’s beating, she's been experiencing nightmares, fear of strangers, and intense reactions to sounds that remind her of the attack. She's also seeing things and having flashbacks of the attack. With all these things going on, Claire is slowly falling apart. I really sympathize with what she has been through, and I admire how she's a fighter and a survivor.

The murder mystery aspect is well done, and everything comes together nicely. Also, there are surprising twists and turns along the way that keeps story interesting. However, the world building is inconsistent, and too many confusing story elements are presented in the book. While the story starts off horrifying and compelling, it starts dragging later on and doesn't fulfill the promise of a chilling thriller.

The writing is strong. However, a few parts tend to get a bit repetitive, and the pacing of the story is dragged out. Additionally, with only Claire experiencing the supernatural events, it's hard to tell what is real and what is a hallucination. This was disappointing, as it didn't answer questions raised during the novel.

Overall, Feral is a psychological thriller with an intriguing mystery. However, it wasn't as horrifying and thrilling as it could have been, and the story fell flat for me.

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2 comments on "Review: Feral by Holly Schindler"
  1. This post has definitely gotten me intrigued about this book. I've heard a lot of hype about it and I'm really curious to see if it lives up to it.
    Great post!

  2. Hum...I have this one on my ereader but I just haven't started it yet because. I'll have to read it to see if I have the same reactions, which I probably will. Inconsistency and confusing supernatural stuff (I want to know that it's *real*) just doesn't usually work.


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