Feral isn't a book I would typically read, being a psychological thriller – those tend to scare me in some way or form. But if I ever said Anna Dressed in Blood was the creepiest book I've ever read, I'm completely wrong. Feral tops it off with it's eerie tale about a girl being viciously beaten during a winter storm in Chicago but then moving to Missouri, only to feel as though there's more behind the story that what it seems, especially when Claire finds the body of a local teenager.
Part of the creepiness is due to the vivid language from the dead girl's view.
The cat lowered her face back into the rat’s belly one last time, pulling out one more good bite of bloody entrails. She chewed, as some of the still-steaming intestines spilled out from the rat’s wound, drawing slimy, bloody splatters across its corpse.Wouldn't you be shuddering? Plus, the image is disgusting – as disgusting as seeing a dead squirrel spread eagled in the grass. Disturbingly, that squirrel is still there, only with it's glassy eyes staring at me each time I walk by. I'd rather see it's fluffy tail.
I'm always up for a good mystery, in which I'm secretly connecting dots here and there and trying to figure out who committed the crime before the author reveals the answer. Most of the time I actually do guess who it is, but Schindler does a skillful job in not letting the reader figure out who the murderer is until Claire finds out for herself. I'm still awed that I had about 4-5 potential suspects in the long run (I did have more, but I started eliminating...):
- The best friend – The crying's probably a cover right? And as Claire says, it's almost guilty. It doesn't help when said bestie utters the words, "I regret it. I'll always regret it..." Couldn't the bestie regret committing the murder, but doesn't actually say it?
- The casual weirdo – Acting differently – it can't be a coincidence... or can it?
- The "cheating" ex – Just to get rid of the person. Plus said ex does speak in the past tense as though he knows the person is dead. The newest girlfriend said ex cheated for could have assisted in it...
- That one teacher – I can't give any details... not really. Aside from the very fact said teacher may have purposely shown test answers and could come back for revenge. Plus, somewhere in there she wants to get out of the school. What better way than a murder of a student?
A novel with a mystery that will have you turning in circles, Feral is a chilling story that closely explores PTSD from a personal level.
Her debut MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY also released in ’14, and became a favorite of teachers and librarians, who used the book as a read-aloud. Kirkus Reviews called THE JUNCTION “...a heartwarming and uplifting story...[that] shines...with vibrant themes of community, self-empowerment and artistic vision delivered with a satisfying verve.” Bloggers also quickly fell for the book; Susan at Bloggin’ ‘bout Books said of THE JUNCTION, “Triumphant and compelling, this is one of those books that will make you cheer. And look a little bit closer for the unique beauty in all of us.”
FERAL is Schindler’s third YA and first mystery / thriller. She encourages readers to get in touch, and can be found at hollyschindler.com, hollyschindler.blogspot.com, @holly_schindler, Facebook.com/HollySchindlerAuthor, and http://hollyschindler.tumblr.com/