Wake the Bones

A Novel

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Pub Date 12 Jul 2022 | Archive Date 26 Jul 2022
St. Martin's Press, Wednesday Books


“Dark, gripping, and gorgeous, Wake the Bones will lead you into the woods and keep you up late. As lush and sweltering as a Kentucky summer... Elizabeth Kilcoyne is a force.” - Gwenda Bond, New York Times bestselling author

The sleepy little farm that Laurel Early grew up on has awakened. The woods are shifting, the soil is dead under her hands, and her bone pile just stood up and walked away.

After dropping out of college, all she wanted was to resume her life as a tobacco hand and taxidermist and try not to think about the boy she can’t help but love. Instead, a devil from her past has returned to court her, as he did her late mother years earlier. Now, Laurel must unravel her mother’s terrifying legacy and tap into her own innate magic before her future and the fate of everyone she loves is doomed.

Elizabeth Kilcoyne’s Wake the Bones is a dark, atmospheric debut about the complicated feelings that arise when the place you call home becomes hostile.

"Seething with shadows, summer, and uniquely southern magic, Wake the Bones is a powerful debut that captures the ache of home being a place you simultaneously love and loathe." - Hannah Whitten, New York Times bestselling author of For the Wolf

“Dark, gripping, and gorgeous, Wake the Bones will lead you into the woods and keep you up late. As lush and sweltering as a Kentucky summer... Elizabeth Kilcoyne is a force.” - Gwenda Bond, New York...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781250790828
PRICE $18.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 45 members

Featured Reviews

Wow wow wow! I came in loving the cover, and eager to read Wake the Bones, and boy did I really enjoy this creepy story!! She perfectly captured a small-town, gothic-horror tale. Loved how weird it was!

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If you're in the mood for a creepy AF read, may I present WAKE THE BONES by Elizabeth Kilcoyne! This book flat-out scared me in places. It's haunting and the story leaves many things open, but in the way of gothic-fantasy-horror, where (as a reader) I'm not expecting everything to be explained--that's part of the charm, imo. Overall, I enjoyed this weird, twisty story and look forward to reading more from Kilcoyne.

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There's much to like about Kilcoyne's debut novel, but what is sticking with me the most is her gorgeous use of language. Her ability to evoke an place and a time: I could feel summer and smell the rot as I read this book and I loved it. It loosely reminded me of The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater in the stubborn, flawed protagonist with her group of flawed, stubborn boys. It loosely reminded me of The Night Circus in how deliciously atmosphereic it was. But Wake the Bones was its own book entirely. Is it a perfect book? No. But do I mind that? Also no. So next year when it's published, a print copy will be coming home with me. Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an ebook ARC. All thoughts are mine alone.

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*Spoiler free* Just from this title, I knew I wanted to read this book. I didn't even need to know much else. I knew it would be about something dark and sinister rising from the earth, and a girl who is trying to stop the devil from coming after her like it did her mother. That's basically all I needed to know to know that I wanted to read this book. Trigger warnings: mental and physical abuse, violence, suicide, blood This book was WEIRD, and I mean that as a huge compliment. It's the kind of weird that blooms in your veins, makes it's home under your skin. It's the kind of weird that haunts, and it's a book that is so, so good. This book embraces everything that it is. It's bizarre and twisted and horrifying and it completely leans into that. And honestly it's what I love about it. Honestly everything I loved about this book I loved because it was weird. The writing, the magic, the characters, the plot, everything was downright weird. I know I'm saying that a lot, but it's true. The magic, it's intense and biting and comes in waves. The characters, there emotions are bright swells that seem to spill over the hills. The plot is something that sweeps through the book, a darkness that lurks in the seems until it infects everything around it. The emotions are complicated and thorny, so much pain and hurt between them all, but also so much love. All of this ties together into something that is sharp, but lovely, and very, very weird. The writing was also something that I really loved. It's twisty in a way, seeming to stretch and pull everything in different ways, seeing how things move. It gives the book a roundedness to it, makes it seem like every corner is explored. It felt very cool, and I really, really liked it. This book isn't about ghosts, but it felt very haunting. It's about something waking up once again. And it's hungry. It's horrifying, and full of death, but also a type of life too. There's a lot of bones and a girl trying to pull magic so protect those she loves. It won't be a book for everyone, but I really, really loved it. It's packed with so much feeling, about friends trying to hold onto each other and keep each other safe, and trying to fight off what is coming to get them. It's so, so good.

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If you've started making your 2022 TBR and are on the lookout for an supernatural and atmospheric story to read Wake the Bones by Elizabeth Kilcoyne is must book to read. The story is unique, and the world building is executed superbly. The characters are complex, relatable, endearing and interesting. Overall, I enjoyed this debut novel and definitely looking forward to reading this author's next book! A special thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press & Wednesday Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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“Wake the Bones” by Elizabeth Kilcoyne is a southern gothic from the hellish heat steaming off the pages to the horrifying creatures lurking in the shadows. Readers looking for a chilling read that will fill them with dread and make them question what they understand about magic should add this book to their reading lists. Laurel Early is presented as a regular college drop-out who returns home to the family farm and spends her free time as a taxidermist. Except, something on the farm has awoken and it wants Laurel. Bad. Whether it’s the devil or something else entirely, it is pure evil and it wants nothing more than to hurt and ruin everything in its path until it has Laurel. Left with no other choice, Laurel must tap into her magic and dig into her family history if she has any hope of defeating the creature that haunts her before it destroys everything she loves. Kilcoyne’s writing is insanely captivating, chilling, and full of beautiful passages that create an enriched world readers will easily immerse themselves in. The landscape, plot, characters, magic and unsettling atmosphere solidifies into a world that will feel tangible and realistic. Kilcoyne is one of those authors who manages to bring every aspect of their story to life in a way that is gripping and truly terrifying. The idea that everyone has a little bit of magic in them is a fascinating concept. While only a select few can access the magic within them, it felt like it was lingering beneath everyone’s skin, waiting to be released. At the same time, it felt contained to a specific place only a select few can access and wield to their desire. Either way, the magic was an intense aspect to the story that was an intriguing twist to unravel. On top of the magic, it will take readers no time to become fully engaged in the characters and the complexities of their lives. Each one takes residence and fills up space with their personalities and issues in this novel that brings a whole other level to the realism. Anyone who picks up this novel will relate to the characters and find they will want to stick around to see how everything plays out with their hopes and dreams. Of course, the horror aspect of this novel was incredibly terrifying and rich with gore. Kilcoyne’s imagination when it comes to dark and gruesome is untameably wild and spooky in the best way possible. While it would be amazing to see a book like this hit big screens, it’s the kind of book one is thankful to read because the creatures are so bizarre and frightening. Fans of horror will be thrilled with the kinds of messed up and off-kilter creatures that hurtle across these pages. “Wake the Bones” by Elizabeth Kilcoyne is a book readers should not be missing out on. This deliciously horrifying tale is expected to be published on July 12th, 2022. A big thank you to St. Martin’s Press (Wednesday Books) and NetGalley for inviting me to read this chilling e-arc and giving me the opportunity to share my honest opinion in this review.

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Page turning battle of good vs. evil - past vs. present - and facing off to save the "family" you've made. Strong story that will grip you from the beginning - and pull you in to a world of friends and nature magic. If you are a fan of "It" this has a similar feel ...

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“Death did not scare her. Intentions did.” Wake the Bones is a can’t-miss YA horror title. Kilcoyne’s writing is highly visual and full of striking, frightening images. Her prose is beautifully elegiac and mournful—for lost people, lost relationships, places, hopes, and dreams. Death haunts this novel, from character’s backstories to the vivid images of taxidermy threaded throughout. Laurel is a complicated and charismatic protagonist—you root for her even as she struggles with interpersonal connection and painful choices. What haunts the woods outside Laurel’s house? You will love finding out.

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