by Holly Schindler


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The Lovely Bones meets Black Swan in this haunting psychological thriller with twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very last page.

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 new start.

But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger. Her fears are confirmed when she discovers the dead body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town's feral cats. Claire knows there's more to this "accident" than meets the eye.

The closer she gets to finding out the truth, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself. . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062220202
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/26/2014
Pages: 432
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.60(d)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Holly Schindler writes for all ages from her home in Springfield, Missouri. Her YAs are critically acclaimed and award winning, and her Midwest roots often make an appearance in her books for teens. Readers, librarians, teachers, and book groups can keep up with the latest or get in touch at www.hollyschindler.com.

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Feral 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Kerri_M More than 1 year ago
Holly Schindler’s FERAL promised to be like THE LOVELY BONES meets BLACK SWAN and it did not disappoint. From the first two opening scenes, I knew this was going to be one of those true psychological thrillers, emphasis on the psychological aspect. *pumps fists* I was disturbed. I was horrified. I was cringing back from the pages, peering through my fingers, and feeling so utterly overwhelmed. I freaking LOVED it. Schindler did a phenomenal job with making the reader FEEL like they were slowing becoming unhinged and unbalanced right along with the main character. I love books with unreliable narrators, and Claire, the MC, is absolutely convincing in this role. It’s so hard to come across a contemporary novel that really takes the reader on a psychological mind melt, and this work has definite nods towards classic masters (like Hitchcock) in this genre. I felt myself questioning my own sanity and judgment of what was real and what could be fantasy with each new page I turned. The atmosphere in FERAL was also extremely well crafted. I could clearly picture being in this creepy, foggy town that lived up to its name of “Peculiar.” The entire cast of characters added to this haunted setting – and at times it felt like it had shades of Stephen King’s horrorlicious style. I love how King can make a small town absolutely terrifying, even by having a character simply walk to the store for some milk while you’re screaming “Look behind you!” only to realize that all is safe…for now. Schindler did that beautifully. You find yourself constantly on edge, wondering what horror is going to take place next, and questioning everyone and their motives. Characters are not all perfect, the good ones have flaws, and blemishes and chinks in their armor. It’s what being human is all about, and FERAL is great with delving into humanity. Victims of violence go through a multitude of emotions, and not all of them are going to be pleasant. Sometimes we have to learn who we’re not before we become the person we’re meant to be. I loved Claire. She had ups and downs, and I was right there with her throughout her journey. Hands down, I’d recommend this book to anyone who’s a fan of true psychological thrillers.
Daisy_Moon More than 1 year ago
Not what I expected at all. It is a ghost story, so if you like them, you might like this story. I however, detest ghost stories.
StephWard More than 1 year ago
'Feral' is a gripping young adult thriller that tells the story of two girls who are linked by horrible circumstances. Claire Cain is the main character of the book. She begins the book by living in Chicago with a good life - a super close best friend, awards for her journalism articles, and even a small piece of fame after exposing and busting a drug ring that infiltrated her private school. Claire's life is going according to her plan - which all leads to becoming an important journalist one day. One day during an ice storm, her entire world is turned upside down when she gets attacked and almost beaten to death by the drug gang she got arrested. After her physical injuries finally heal, life doesn't feel the same for Claire, so she agrees to go to the small town of Peculiar, Missouri with her father. On the day that Claire arrives in Peculiar, an ice storm is hitting the town - and the fate of another teen girl who wants to be a journalist is being decided. Only this girl, Serena, isn't as lucky as Claire - she is killed and her body stashed in the woods outside the school. Things go from bad to worse when Claire discovers Serena's body and begins to "see" the truth behind Peculiar. But what exactly is truth and what is in Claire's mind? She needs to find out what really happened to Serena before she becomes the next victim. I absolutely love thrillers, so after reading the description of this book, I knew I had to read it. The concept of the book was a great one - part mystery, part thriller, and part paranormal/ghost story - with the main character having to determine what's real and what's in her head before it's too late. The characters were all well written, especially the lead character - Claire. She's strong and smart, but she's also suffering from some PTSD after her brutal attack. She has some trouble recovering emotionally from the incident and the terrible situation in Peculiar only makes things worse. I really liked getting to know all the sides of Claire's character - to watch her piece together the mystery of Peculiar, of the horrible things that happened to her in Chicago, and just how much damage it has caused her. The other characters were well written - the author did a great job of making some characters red herrings before throwing huge twists and turns into the plot. I always love trying to figure out what's really going on or what happened before the main character does, but I kept come up short with this book. I would think I had things figured out, but then a bit twist in the plot pops up and I'm stuck again. I was definitely reading as fast as I could to finally see the truth and what actually happened. The plot was very intriguing and blended several genres together to create an original story that will appeal to a lot of readers. Along with the plot twists and the unique story line, the author uses fantastic descriptions and vivid imagery to make the reader feel like they are right beside Claire in Peculiar, trying to figure out what's going on. I found this to be a wonderful thriller that fans of the genre will definitely want to get their hands on. I also recommend it to those who enjoy lots of other genres as well - there's a bit of something for everyone. I'm definitely going to keep my eye on the author to see what she comes out with next! Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
BookLoversLife1 More than 1 year ago
Claire has her whole life ahead of her. She is a budding journalist and loves writing the truth. When a new kid arrives in school Claire and her BFF, Rachelle, try to be nice to him, only for him to sneer at them. When some drugs are found in Rachelles locker, Claire knows that the new kid put them there. She shows everyone the truth and the new kid is expelled. A while later Claire is on her way home from the library when she is attacked by a gang of boys. the new kid included. She suffers an horrific attack and is left for dead.  When Claires dad is offered a six month job in Peculiar he decides to take it. Both he and Claire figure it will be a new start and take Claire away from the reminders of what happens. But in Peculiar, a girl is murdered. A girl who used to live in the house Claire is renting out. When Claire starts seeing freaky things she knows that its up to her to solve Serenas death quickly before time runs out.  My initial thoughts on finishing Feral was to shiver because wow those cats were freaky!! Then it was to be in awe of the authors mind. This book was just mind boggling!!  Poor Claire!! I felt so bad for her but I also admired her spirit. After the beating she suffered in Chicago she just wants a normal life. She wants her best friend back and not to be treating her like she is breakable. When her dad is offered the sabbatical she thinks it is a great idea and hopes that life in a small town will help her heal. When she gets there the first thing she sees are the towns Feral cats. they seem to be everywhere. Then at the gas station she hears about the missing girl and is concerned about her but since she didn't know her she isn't to upset. Not long after that though she stumbles upon the missing girls body in the woods, which by the way is being eaten by the cats, and from then on her life spirals out of control.  Rich was the best character. Claire describes him as a man mountain. I loved how kind, understanding and just how much of a nice guy he was. He lives across from where Claire is renting and used to be best friends with Serena when they were young. I loved his friendship with Claire and how supportive he was. Becca on the other hand annoyed me at times. She was best friends with Serena and the whole way through the book she is riddled with guilt about how she treated Serena and tries to cling to Claire. Becca seemed so needy and whining and I found it hard to really like her. I know she was hurting but yet we never really see a big change in her.  No onto the cats. I think if I ever saw that many cats in one place from now on Id freak. They were so scary and I think I'm going to have nightmares after reading certain parts. *Shudder*  Overall Feral was such a surprise. I adored the authors style. She drew you in and made you think a certain thing was going to happen and then bam she turned it right around. I thought I knew who the murderer was but I was wrong, although the actual murdered was my number 2 suspect! Holly Schindler has created a hauntingly creepy book. It was thrilling, spine tingling and as I said earlier mind boggling! With its ghosts, chilling subject matter and down right fereeeeky cats, Feral is a must read. While this is my first book by this author, it definitely isn't going to be my last. 
DesPutaski More than 1 year ago
I thought the idea behind this book was very unique and very intriguing. Of course, one of the things that drew me to this tour in the first place was the book cover. I’ve always said that just because a cover is bad, doesn’t mean that the story is going to be terrible. But truthfully, if you put two books on a table and one has fantastic cover art and one has something that looks like maybe your cat threw up on it… well, we know which book people will gravitate towards first. So job well done on the cover art! Nine months ago, Claire Cain’s life was turned upside down. Because of a story she had written about her best friend being wrongly accused of selling drugs, she was attacked and beaten within an inch of her life by a gang of drug dealers. She’s left with both the physical and emotional scars that come along with such an event. She’s trying to piece her life back together, but everywhere she turns she is surrounded with reminders of that horrible night in the alley. Her dad decides that getting away might be the best thing for her, so he decides to take a six month sabbatical in Peculiar, Missouri. It’s a weird little town in the middle of nowhere… the perfect place to forget… or is it? Soon after arriving, Claire discovers the body of Serena Sims in the woods surrounding the high school and that just starts a chain of weird events. I love Claire’s character. She evolves throughout the book. It might come across that she’s moody or mentally disturbed at points…but given everything she has been through she’s quite a strong character. There were some parts that I wish she would have handled the situation better…. but her reactions were for self-preservation and by the end you understand her more. The supporting cast of characters each play a role and are well-rounded. The pacing of the story is the one major flaw I found. There were parts that seemed to drag on forever and there were parts that I wish were more in-depth. But if you can slog through the slow parts there are some plot twists that will change everything you thought you understood. There were some times that the story would switch direction and I got a little lost, but by the end everything made perfect sense. Feral is an intense story that is full of mystery and suspense. I love how the title of the book ties in to the story. This is the first book I have read by this author. She has a phenomenal writing style and I’ll definitely be checking out more of her work. I recommend this to anyone who loves a good murder/mystery and psychological horror.
myonlyvice More than 1 year ago
About the Book: Claire Cain has just survived a brutal trauma. Her father decides to take a sabbatical from his job and move he and Claire to a new city for a while. Claire is only there a couple of days when she finds the dead body of one of the local girls that has been missing for over a week. The town of Peculiar seems to be overrun by stray cats. Serena, the dead girl, used to feed them. Especially a calico she named Sweet Pea. It isn’t long before Claire sees that Serena has taken over Sweet Pea’s body and is calling to Claire to find out what really happened to her. At least at first that is what Claire believes, but soon things change and it seems that Serena may have other more sinister ideas for Claire. My Thoughts: This was such a creepy story! Sometimes I found myself thinking, whoa, this is way over the top for me! But I kept on reading because the more I read the more I wanted to find out what happened to Serena. I thought it was interesting how the reader is able to see through Serena’s eyes and read her thoughts after she is dead and being hidden away. The shroud of fog that would come over Claire whenever Sweet Pea/Serena came into the picture lent an air of creepiness to the story as well. Towards the ending of the book I got an idea of where the story was going, but was quite surprised by the “who done it.” This is a young adult book so if you like that genre along with mysteries and ghosts, then I think you will enjoy this story.
lrhubble More than 1 year ago
A Great book Contemporary, Young Adult Chicago, Illinois & Peculiar, Missouri Claire Cain is trying to deal with the after affects of a brutal beating she took months ago in Chicago. She is haunted by the words she keeps hearing “it’s too late for you. You’re dead.” Now her father has been offered a job in another state and Claire hopes that means a new start for her. When Claire arrives in Peculiar what she ends up finding is an overwhelming sense of danger. That is confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school. A body that is surrounded by the feral cats that occupy the town. Claire is determined to find the truth because she is sure there is more to the accident than meets the eye. The closer she gets to the truth though the closer she gets to discovering more about herself. This is a story that will take the reader on one very wild ride. While there are some romantic elements in the story this is more of suspense story. Reading how Claire is trying to cope with what happened to her really give the reader a prospective of what others that have dealt with in a similar situation and really makes readers think. It manages to do this with a story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats wondering just what is happening in the town of Peculiar. This takes some great twists and turns while keeping the reader guessing just what happened to the dead high school student. When the truth comes to light it makes for an excellent ending to a story that keeps turning everything on its head. This proves to be a hard book to put down even with the heavy subject that is covered. A subject that is handled in such a way that it doesn’t overwhelm the reader and makes for story that will be hard to forget even after the reader finishes the book. received a review copy
Cupcakegirly More than 1 year ago
This book is creepy. You should read it. With the lights on. Holly Schindler warned me before I started reading FERAL that it wasn't like any of her other books and she was right. It's fast-paced, mind-twisty with engaging story-telling, compelling characters, and descriptions that draw you in and make you feel as if they are happening to you. *shudders* Like any good mystery, each time I assumed I knew what was going to happen next, something else would happen to throw me off. And there were quite a few moments where I was on the edge of my seat wondering, "WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?!" Okay, so maybe hiding under the covers is more like it, but whatever. Don't judge. The ending left me satisfied and the mystery itself was something that could have easily been pulled from today's headlines. I generally shy away from books with a high creep factor, they tend to give me nightmares, but I'm glad I gave this one a chance! You should too.