Cover Image: Wake the Bones

Wake the Bones

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Member Reviews

Lose yourself in this creepy, lushful and intriguing story and you won't regret a thing! It's so so GOOD!!

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Thank you NetGalley for providing me with an arc of this book.
I was very excited to get an arc for this book because of the beautiful cover and incredibly intriguing description.
I enjoyed the way that Elizabeth Kilcoyne writes in such a lyrical way. I also found the concept to be very original and unlike anything I've read prior.
Wasn't the book for me though. I didn't connect with the main characters and felt like they feel a little flat and were sort of boring. I also had a hard time understanding the magic system throughout the book and usually like to see more world-building so that I can understand the magic system before diving into the rest of it.
Overall I finished thinking "Alright" but I can see how others would love this book.

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Let's start off with the obvious, because there is a lot about this story that had me confused and I could not follow very well. This book is a walking neon sign of warnings. I would never recommend this book lightly, and only after some sort of disclosure about some of the themes that are going on inside of it. You have abuse of all kinds, violence (obviously), suicide, and somewhat toxic relationships. It is equal parts depressing and triggering and hard to read. It also doesn't help that everything that our main protagonist is going through, is compounded by the creepy-ness of the stuff she likes to do in her free time. Taxidermy is a valid hobby and for some worthwhile. In this setting it is not helping and only adds to the totality of how dark it gets and doesn't help with everything else that may be going on. I mean - a haunted farm, a possible devil on the prowl, and things moving around that shouldn't. It reads like a horror book, but at the same time it doesn't. The facts and story line aspects as they line up portray this book as a horror. But at the same time I cannot help but also feel that genre doesn't fit perfectly. I cannot tell if what happens really does or if it was all linked to her sanity. I everything she experiencing really happening or is it all just in her mind. Is the farm's haunting linked to her or her mother. I would like both more and less information when it comes this story.

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.

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Laurel Early decides she wants to leave college and return home to her family's tobacco farm but her uncle tells her she needs to work and provide for herself now. She turns to bones. Walking along her property she finds animal bones in all stages of decay and creates items to sell.

Her mother starts to warn her that she is in danger, which in itself is super strange because her mother has been dead for more than twenty years. Laurel realizes she has been communicating with her mother's ghost, and when a large bone monster attacks her and her friend, she decides she needs help.

Insert Christine, the town witch. Everyone dislikes her because they fear her. Christine can tell the future and commune with ghosts. With her help, Laurel and her friends meet these bone monsters head on.


Wake the Bones felt reminiscent of Where the Darkness Blooms -- young adults in a small midwestern town face supernatural forces. (I'm writing this review after WTB is published, after having also read WTDB)
It was OK, but unfortunately not great. I was super invested in the story and then around 3/4 of the way through it lost me. Not that I didn't understand what was happening, but it felt like all the anticipation didn't pay off. OK, and then there was one part near the very end where I actually was confused --

SPOILER:
The kid who was beaten up and hung by the tree, I didn't know if he actually survived or if he was dreaming about moving in with that other kid. Turns out, it really happened (not sure how he managed to survive). And the part where Ricky is saved by Laurel but he becomes part plant is really cool but it also took me by surprise, and not in the best way.


I loved the macabre aspect and the imagery was spectacular. I also loved the inclusion of witches and earth-based magic. So it's hard for me to explain what exactly happened that this book didn't hit me as much as I expected. However, it is a story that I would go back and reread.

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I liked this book, I hated this book, I felt too dumb for this book?

I don’t quite know. The idea was there, the characters were quirky, but something was just….off the whole time. And half the time I literally felt like I had no idea what was going on.

But it was fine. I’d try the author again in the future to see if maybe this was a one-off.

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This was interesting, but I felt it would have been so much better if the author took the plunge and aged her characters up. I felt like the YA description was a bit odd given the subject matter.

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YA Horror has had some great novels lately and this is one of them. Kilcoyne does a great job of weaving this world and this mystery together.

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It was a very spooky read and I did enjoy it! The characters were all super intense and the plot was fairly original.

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I don't usually consider myself part of the target audience for YA horror novels, but Elizabeth Kilcoyne wrote one that resonated very deeply with me. While I don't feel that the characters are as strong/dynamic as they could be, the world-building is atmospheric, and the prose is hauntingly beautiful--which is worth praise in my book.

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The book had an interesting premise. I enjoyed the mystery behind what was happening in Laurel’s town/family and the love interest as well. Some parts of the story dragged a little, but overall I enjoyed the book.

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The setting was well described and I could really feel the atmosphere. Unfortunately the characters were flat and sort of indistinguishable. There was no backstory; how did they meet, why were they friends, Isaac and Laurel were supposedly best friends but there wasn't much depth to their friendship. It was sort of confusing that Laurel and Ricki loved each other because they started out hating each other, and there was no build up of their relationship, it all happened before the book started.

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Thank you to Elizabeth, Wednesday Books, and Netgalley for an advance copy of Wake the Bones.

Laurel dreamed of getting away from her small town and starting a new life in a city. Best laid plans and all of that…she ends up back home after struggling with school and tends to her uncle’s tobacco farm while dabbling in taxidermy on the side.

However, upon her return strange things start happening. On top of dreams of her dead mother, unexplainable things are happening on the farm. Something/someone has caused her taxidermy bones to get up and walk away…and now Laurel has to come to terms with her own power and work to stop the force that is putting herself and her loved ones in danger.

The last few years there’s been a branch of YA that I’ll refer to as ‘elevated YA’ - a little darker, a little deeper, a little more metaphoric and poetic. It is definitely not the subgenre for everyone, and I’m finding out more and more that I am one of those people. I don’t want to diminish the Young Adult category, because I’ve been a long time fan of YA and still am, but I definitely make assumptions that I’m going into a ‘lighter’ experience when I read YA…even if the themes are heavy. There is generally some comedic relief, the characters have a little more fluff to them, things like that. In this newer realm of ‘elevated YA’ that is not the case. These books are heavier to digest and weigh a little heavier on the psyche. And maybe it’s just me, but with the preconceptions that I have about the YA genre, these heavier ones just don’t sit right with me and the mindset that I enter into them with.

That all being said, this book had a lot of pros to it - it was atmospheric and creative. It dealt with a variety of topics that can crossover into normal everyday life (as opposed to a haunted farm with animated bones) making it relatable to those readers who enjoy contemporary aspects, however it was spooky and supernatural enough to appeal to horror fans as well.

It was an odd and interesting book, but the pacing was a bit slow and I didn’t care much about the characters which left my mind wandering occasionally. I can’t say I absolutely wouldn’t read another Elizabeth Kilcoyne, but I’m not sure that it would be a priority on my life - however, again, I’m coming to find out more and more that this version of YA just isn’t my cup of tea.

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Wake the Bones is a YA horror/thriller that definitely had lots of great creepy moments. The story is about a demon who is stalking a girl and there are moments where the writing is so intense that it almost feels like someone is stalking you in real life.

Overall, the story was a little too disjointed for me to love it, but I did enjoy it while I was reading it. I'd be interested in reading more by this author in the future.

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2.5*

Plot:
It was hard to tell where the story was going sometimes. I think that the story was definitely more character-driven rather than plot driven.

Characters:
Laurel was interesting as a character. She had quite a bit of depth. Even at the beginning of the book I was truly able to feel the sense of loss and grief that she had for her mother. The relationships between the characters were fleshed out well, but with that came some confusion as to whether some relationships were platonic or romantic.

Writing:
I am not into gore so I was not into that aspect of it. I will say that the descriptions were well written, even though it is not my thing. There were a few lulls in the story that I felt were unnecessary. The characters were well written and developed. There was such a great focus on them and I really enjoyed that because I do tend to lean towards more character-driven books.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me a free advanced copy of this book to read and review.

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This book gave me the same feeling I had watching Nightmares on Elm Street as a kid. Which means this book scared me. lol The whole time I was reading the story, I was like this is supposed to be YA, so it shouldn't be that bad. Which if you were looking for thrasher horror, okay this isn't that bad at all, but the whole atmosphere was so grim and eerie, and it felt like Freddy Krueger was going to jump out at any moment. lol I even read the ending, to lessen my anxiety and it didn't help, Elizabeth Kilcoyne does an amazing job at making the atmosphere have a very creepy feeling. Even during the romantic scenes, it was still a maybe ya'll shouldn't be doing this right now, while the boogeyman is trying to get you. lol

Still, I enjoyed it for the most part, I enjoyed the ride. Some scenes, I was like "really?!", and I still don't actually know if it was a happy ending, but I will definitely be on the lookout for more books by the author, although I might just read them during the day.

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I really enjoyed this book, despite how long it took to finish. The pacing of this book was slow. It was the characters that kept me invested rather than the plot. It may as well have been contemporary with how uninteresting and underdeveloped the horror/fantasy plot was. I felt that the character's magic could have been delved into further. Often, I felt something was lacking when the more fantastical/horror moments in the book came up. It feels too similar to the Raven Cycle, overall.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this advanced reader's copy and the opportunity to read this early. Review has been posted on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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Eerie and haunting YA horror!

Laurel, 19, lives and works on her family’s tobacco farm in midwestern America. Her friends, Ricky, Garrett and Isaac work alongside her. When they find a mutilated deer carcass in the woods and follow the bloody trail, an ominous feeling surrounds them. Laurel receives a warning from the local psychic that danger is imminent and Laurel understands because she has been having vivid dreams too. When a supernatural creature appears in front of their car, Laurel and Isaac see the danger face-to-face and know they’re in deep trouble.

Likes/dislikes: I appreciate the content warning at the beginning of the book. I like the close friendship between the four main characters. Christine intrigues me and there’s a whole story behind her background that begs to be told.
Language: R for 57 swears and 120 f-bombs.
Mature Content: PG-13 for mention of smoking pot, underage drinking, brief kiss, implied petting.
Violence: PG-13 for mutilated and bloody deer carcass found in the woods. Undescribed child abuse. Monster harming a person, dead rabbit. Dead body.
Ethnicity: Laurel and her friends are White.

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Setting: Kentucky
Rep: at least one queer POV character

I have made it through 50% of this book and it has now been weeks since I touched it; it's time to admit that I'm not vibing with it and it's time to give up. I am not intrigued by the story and it's just giving me nothing that I want, but I do think it's more of a me problem as the writing does seem imaginative.

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