Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker



First off, can I just say that the cover is freaking gorgeous? I could probably stare at it for hours and still not get tired of being fascinated.

Anyway. On to the contrary. What really made me love this story was the fact that it was so unique and vividly imagined and had this subtle, southern/gothic feel to it that made my toes curl. I love reading about creepy stories like these set into small towns.

This story follows a girl named Sterling who loves her brother, Phineas, fiercely. One day, they both have an argument that results in Phin jumping over the fence and into the forbidden swamp that is feared by all…

*cue creepy music*

Sterling soon finds that, after Phin’s disappearance into the swamp, someone else climbs out in his place. A girl. A girl claiming that she is Sterling’s sister and has everyone in town except Sterling believing that this girl is who she says she is. Thus, this propels Sterling to try and get her brother back and prove everyone that she isn’t crazy because, somehow, everyone but her has been brainwashed.

She enlists the help of the town’s bad boy, Heath, who really isn’t a bad boy at all and is somewhat in the same predicament as she is.

I love how Parker wove such an intricate tale that sent shivers up my spine, wondering what it would be like to live in a place where such a swamp exists. A swamp that is literally living and breathing on its own, a swamp that claims ownership of anyone who dares venture inside. A swamp with magic and fae. How much more awesome could it get?

This was a very quick read, and I connected with Sterling so much. Whenever she felt the hopelessness inside of her over her brother, I felt it right along with her. Whenever she tried to convince everyone – including her parents- around her that she wasn’t crazy and that Phineas did exist, I cheered her on.

I loved the side characters, too, especially her best friend Candy, who was an amazing best friend and quirky in her own way. I loved Heath, the love interest, because he was not only adorable, but he also had layers of his own. He wasn’t just a one dimensional character at all, in my opinion. He had his reasons for being such a misunderstood delinquent, too.

Overall, I enjoyed this story so much and I wish more dark, gothic tales such as these existed. Everything, from the writing to the characters, was absolutely amazing and perfectly executed!


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