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Saturday, August 23, 2014

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Blog Tour: Feral by Holly Schindler - ARC Review + Giveaway

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Feral by Holly Schindler

Holly Schindler
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Book Depository | Kobo
Publication Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen

The Lovely Bones meets Black Swan in this haunting psychological thriller with twists and turns that will make you question everything you think you know.

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.
Advanced copy provided by HarperTeen via Edelweiss for the blog tour – thanks!

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?
I may have watched too many CSI and Law and Order shows with all of my reasoning. :p

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.

5 Owls

Author Bio

Holly Schindler is the author of the critically acclaimed A BLUE SO DARK (Booklist starred review, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year silver medal recipient, IPPY Awards gold medal recipient) as well as PLAYING HURT (both YAs).

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,, @holly_schindler,, and
Author Links:
Website | Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook


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Sophia is the owner and founder of Bookwyrming Thoughts, but also found on various parts of the internet. She's a 19-year-old communications major who has weird humor and doesn't fit the Asian stereotype (maybe a little). Books, chocolate, technology, and music are among some of her favorite things. For more of her work, visit her personal website.