Book Review: Feral

By: Holly Schindler
Published by: HarperTeen
Release date: August 26, 2014
Genre: YA thriller
432 pages
Source: ARC kindly provided by publisher

Feral caught my eye because it’s set in a real town near my home: Peculiar, MO. I am pleased to report that the Peculiar in the book doesn’t bear much similarity to the real place; I’m quite happy not living near a creeptastic town overrun with feral cats where girls get killed and left in the woods behind the local high school.

Claire Cain is a survivor of a brutal attack in her home town of Chicago. When her father gets an opportunity to work a special project for a while, he and Claire agree that some time away will be good for them both. They couldn’t be more wrong.

One of my favorite aspects of the book was the string of similarities between Claire and the dead girl, Serena. It’s as if Claire is the only possible person to figure out what happened to Serena. She communicates with her in the strangest ways imaginable, and the result is spine-tingling.

The characters in this story, rather than coming across as random generic teens, are distinct, original, and realistic. The juxtaposition of the believable characters and the weird events is powerful, and heightens the suspense.

Feral is a great summer book; it’s a chilling read perfect for a warm night. This is a perfect choice for a quiet all-nighter, when you have the house to yourself so you can hear all the things that go bump in the night.


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.


  1. I had a quite different experience with Feral. Here are my thoughts:

    This book had a lot of potential a a ghost story or as a psychological thriller, but for me it didn't quite get there. I found myself wincing at some of the metaphors and similes used (death is a rattlesnake's tail...) which seemed overblown and clumsy. I persisted to see what would happen, but were it not a review copy, I'd probably have stopped reading half way through.

    I really liked the beginning with Serena, but felt that this wasn't satisfactorily resolved later in the book.



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