I received a free copy from the publishers via Edelweiss.
“All around me the swamp grows louder and louder. It croaks and naps and rattles. It groans and gurgles and shrieks…”
When Sterling’s brother Phin runs off into the town swamp after an argument, he doesn’t return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May does and no one but Sterling can remember her brother. Everyone in town fears the swamp, but they don’t talk about it. As Sterling tries to get her brother back, she discovers more about the swamp and Lenora May’s connection to it. Sterling’s not alone in this, however, because Heath Durham is the only one in town who believes her.
Beware the Wild is a good southern gothic. Not great, just good. Beware the Wild has a great atmosphere, but it’s magic slowly fizzles away as the story progresses before picking up again towards the end. It’s because of this that I found myself getting bored during several parts of the story, even though I really wanted to love this book. Instead I just liked it, but I would still recommend to fans of gothic YA novels.
One thing I really did enjoy, though, were the characters. I thought Sterling a strong female lead, who put her brother first and was stubborn enough not to forget about her brother. I can’t say I enjoyed the romance between Sterling and Heath all that much, but it’s not a huge part of the story and doesn’t overshadow the plot. Lenora May also grew on me and I found her a likeable character, which was a surprising turn of events.
Overall, it’s a good southern gothic, I just wish it was a little less boring at times and I would have enjoyed it a lot more.
RATING: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)