Wake the Bones by Elizabeth Kilcoyne #bookreview #YA #horror

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.

“…her bone pile just stood up and walked away.” Tell me this sentence doesn’t intrigue you. I’ve read plenty of horror novels but can’t say I’ve come across anything quite like this.

Upon finishing this book, I turned off my Kindle, sat quietly for a few moments, then asked myself, “What did I just read?” Wake the Bones is dark, weird, imaginative, and otherworldly. Did I mention weird?

Laurel drops out of college after freshman year and returns to the family tobacco farm in rural Kentucky, a town she’d sworn to get away from. But fate has other plans for her. Raised by her uncle after her mother committed suicide when she was a baby, Laurel still struggles with the loss. Soon after returning home, her world is turned upside down when the farm…. comes alive. So do the bones Laurel has collected. Turns out her mother’s life was more complicated than she ever knew, and the thing/devil? that haunted her has now turned its sights on Laurel.

The farm itself is a living, breathing character in this novel, and there’s a connection between it and Laurel I never completely understood. The same can be said about Laurel’s magic. Not a lot of explanation is given, but it’s there and seems to be powerful. I wasn’t really a fan of hers, but her strong friendship with Isaac is one of my favorite aspects of the story. With an abusive father, he needs all the support he can get, and Laurel, her uncle, and friends Garrett and Ricky offer that. Isaac’s relationship with Garrett also won my heart.

Pacing is a little uneven, but the climactic ending moves briskly and comes with a bizarrre surprise in the epilogue that fits perfectly with the story. I may not have connected with this novel on some levels, but the atmosphere and descriptions of the farm are done to an eerie perfection. I’ll be looking for future releases by this author.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

19 thoughts on “Wake the Bones by Elizabeth Kilcoyne #bookreview #YA #horror

  1. Wow! Sounds like a very strange story, Teri. I agree with Craig that the cover stands out. And I like that the farm is a character. I’ve read books where a house was a character, but never a farm. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I just finished reading one where the house turned out to be a character, Jan – and it was completely unexpected. But I’ve never come across one where the farm/land is one, either. It was certainly original.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I ended up opting not to read this one even though I had the ARC – I think it was because of the author’s CWs for it – which were quite a few. It sounds interesting but I don’t think I would have enjoyed it. (And I need to purge books that don’t sound like they’re for me right up front atm). Excellent review!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Tessa! You’re right about the content warnings – it came with several. I came across a couple recently that didn’t mention any, but should have contained them. They sure can help you trim down the TBR.

      Liked by 1 person

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