Author: Holly Schindler
Rating: ★ 1/2
Synopsis: 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…
Huge thank you to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for this ARC!
I went into Feral with the wrong expectations. I ADORED Holly Schindler’s The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky, and even though I knew this was of a different genre, I was anticipating to like this more than I did. My biggest issue with Feral is simple: it did nothing to make me care about the story, characters and even its genre.
First off, I don’t feel like I can pin-point what genre this book was attempting to be. Is it horror? Thriller? Mystery? Paranormal? It seems like it is trying to mash all these genres together, but it never succeeds at any of them on any degree. In one sense it’s almost as though the book had several incarnations, but none of them felt like they were the star of the show.
Second, the book is boring and it’s so easy to forget what’s going on. I felt like there was no hook in the narrative, and all the characters felt vapid and one dimensional, except for Serena, who gets a ton of development in her own sections. Too bad, however, she isn’t even the main character — Claire is, and she’s devoid of any personality what so ever. I recognize the two characters are supposed to be connected in some way, but it never felt organic in any way, and if anything it was really shoehorned in to the point where it annoyed me.
Also the writing is so drawn out half the time. In many situations there’s a lot of pointless descriptions that feels unnecessary to the actual story. I think this book actually could have been a lot stronger had a lot of the pointless description been removed, because seriously, there’s so many long and drawn passages, meanwhile the author then gets right to the point! Just, no, no no.
At the end of the day Feral annoyed me because it was all over the map and it never gave me the solid connections I was craving. I should have cared about what was happening, and instead I found myself bored to tears because none of the characters stood out (also, so many pointless secondary characters who serve no purpose!), and it was just hard to care about what was going on because the good parts of the story were bogged down but tons of pointless information. I still think Schindler’s writing is great, but this book just didn’t cut it a lot of the time for me.