Review: Behold the Bones by Natalie C. Parker

Behold the Bones (Beware the Wild, #2)
Candace “Candy” Pickens has been obsessed with the swamp lore of her tiny Louisiana town for . . . forever. Name any ghostly swamp figure and Candy will recite the entire tale in a way that will curl your toes and send chills up your spine.

That doesn’t mean Candy’s a believer, however. Even though she and her friends entered the swamp at the start of summer and left it changed, Candy’s the only one who can’t see or feel the magical swamp Shine. She’s also the only one who can’t see the ghosts that have been showing up and spooking everyone in town ever since. So Candy concentrates on other things—real things. Like fighting with her mother and plotting her escape from her crazy town.

But ghosts aren’t the only newcomers in Sticks, Louisiana. The King family arrives like a hurricane: in a blur and unwanted—at least by Candy. Mr. King is intent on filming the rumored ghostly activity for his hit TV show, Local Haunts. And while Candy can’t ignore how attracted she is to eighteen-year-old Gage King and how much his sister, Nova, wants to be friends, she’s still suspicious of the King family.

As Candy tries to figure out why the Kings are really in town and why the swamp that had previously cast her aside now seems to be invading every crack in her logical, cynical mind, she stumbles across the one piece of swamp lore she didn’t know. It’s a tale that’s more truth than myth, and may have all the answers . . . and its roots are in Candy’s own family tree.

I never read Beware The Wild and I wasn't aware that Behold the Bones was a sequel to it. I still enjoyed it, but sort of wish I had read Beware the Wild first as it sounds brilliant now I basically know the whole storyline. 

Behold the Bones is a really special book in that it didn't feel like I was reading a YA book - I felt like I was reading something super special and different. Maybe it's the setting - this rich, atmospheric southern swamp setting with it's peculiar characters and lore really made this book stand out. Maybe it was the romance, because it doesn't go a typical direction and despite the fact that we don't get to know the guy Candace ends up with that well, I still loved the way it went.

Candace was such a fantastic character - she's sarcastic and tough and a bit of a cow sometimes, but her voice was such a delight to read. I loved her friends, Sterling and Abigail, and I loved her cousins. I even really liked getting to know Nova and Gage and their father, and all of Candace's family. Parker has a brilliant way of making every single character stand out.

This book was tense and creepy, but not quite as spooky as I had been hoping when I picked it up. The climax was fast paced and I loved getting absorbed in the mystery behind Candace and her family, but at times the pace did slow quite substantially and I found myself losing interest a little.

Overall, Behold the Bones was such an engaging, well written book and I only wish I had read Beware the Wild earlier. Despite some pacing issues, I really enjoyed this book!

Book released 23rd February by HarperTeen
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

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