Monday, October 06, 2014

Review: Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

From Goodreads: It's an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp - the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn't return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed. Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp's done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance - and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her. 

My Rating: 4 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Just like the swamp of Sticks, Louisiana, Natalie C. Parker’s Beware the Wild lures you in and then refuses to let go. Within a few chapters, I was thoroughly captivated by the setting and its impact on the characters.

I loved the swamp! At first, I thought Sterling was exaggerating about its danger and wasn’t sure whether her brother, Phin, ever existed; but over time, the swamp’s presence subtly began to take over the book. As more and more people disappeared and their loved ones forgot about them, it became clear that not only were the townspeople of Sticks right to be deathly afraid of the swamp, but that their various superstitions were no longer keeping them safe.

In the midst of this is Sterling, a realistic character with flaws and weaknesses. At the beginning of the novel, Sterling is very dependent on Phin for protection and security – so dependent in fact that she develops an eating disorder from the stress of thinking about her brother moving away for college. However, once Phin disappears into the swamp and doesn’t return, Sterling has to muster up the courage to overcome her fears in order to find Phin since she's the only one who remembers his existence.

Sterling’s love for Phin also meant that I enjoyed the romance because she never got carried away by intense romantic feelings. Her top priority always remained finding her brother. As a result, the romance, despite being a little fast, never overwhelmed the plot. Sterling’s involvement with Heath made sense as well because they had both lost someone they loved to the swamp, and had been interested in each other in the past.

Finally, although the secondary characters in Beware the Wild remained firmly in the background, I found them to be very well-developed. For example, in spite of spending little time with characters like Phin, Lenora May, and Fisher, I was still able to learn their hopes and dreams and find out what motivated them.

A debut that’s particularly recommended for fans of Victoria Schwab's The Near Witch, Beware the Wild will be released by HarperTeen on October 21, 2014. 

Comments About the Cover: The dark cover and the blurb are perfect for the creepiness of Beware the Wild!

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (HarperCollins) for free via Edelweiss.


  1. "Her top priority always remained finding her brother." YESSS. Finally a book where the main character doesn't get distracted by romance and focuses on the actual goal. I'd read this one just for that, but it seems like it has some other good points as well ;)

  2. I just read a creepy but good MG novel about Louisiana too and this sounds like a good up to pick up soon. I like that the focus is on saving the brother instead of sacrificing herself for her love interest. I don't think I've heard of this one before so thanks for putting it on my radar, Z.

    p.s. Work is going really well. I'm exhausted in a good way by the end of the day and I don't have time to do as much reading as I would like but I try to do some. :)

  3. I absolutely LOVED The Near Witch, so the comparison makes me giddy. I'm also a huge fan of that cover, and I'm so glad to see you enjoyed this one, Z!


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