Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Author Spotlight: Feral by Holly Schindler

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM


Holly Schindler is the author of four traditionally published books; her work has received starred reviews in Booklist and Publishers Weekly, has won silver and gold medals in ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year and the IPPY Awards, respectively, has been featured on Booklist’s Best First Novels for Youth and School Library Journal’s What’s Hot in YA, and has been a PW Pick of the Week. Fifth Avenue Fidos is her first independently published book. She is owned by a Pekingese named Jake and can be found working on her next book in her hometown of Springfield, Missouri. She can also be found at hollyschindler.com, @holly_schindler, and facebook.com/HollySchindlerAuthor

Title: Feral
Author: Holly Schindler
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication: August 26th 2014
Cover Rating: 5/5

Holy crap on a cracker... This book is a mind f**k from hell. I don't think I have actually EVER read a book like this. Even when I used to read adult horror and crime novels.

Claire was assaulted because she defended her best friend. But after the assault her best friend wasn't so friendly anymore. Rachelle acted very stiff and too on edge. Claire just wanted everything to return to normal. I think it is kind of selfish that Rachelle acted the way she did before Claire moved. She wasn't the one who got assaulted. Granted, she probably felt pretty guilty about the entire situation.

Serena was so much like Claire that is was kind of scary. After the first two scenes with Serena I got the picture that she was a sweet and caring girl. It didn't make sense that Sweet Pea acted the way she did. If she was truly possessed by Serena then she should have been a sweet cat. I found it to be strange that Serena was apparently so cruel and spiteful. I figured it had to be something Claire was making up but then again Serena had died and she could have been out for revenge.

Becca, Chas and Owen all seemed to have a lot of issues going on. Chas was a cheated, Owen was changing his personality and physical appearance and Becca was torn up about Serena because she hadn't treated her best friend the way she should have. Why is it that AFTER someone dies is when people try to repent and make things right? If you didn't have the balls to be a better person when your friend was alive then you deserve every bit of guilt and grief you feel. After someone is gone IS NOT the time to regret. Change NOW so you can be at peace in case someone dies.

Rich was so awesome. He seemed like such a caring guy. I almost think that his attachment to Claire was because she was so similar to Serena. I was so hoping something would happen between Claire and Rich. I was very disappointed when the book ended and they were still "just friends". It actually drove me kind of crazy that they didn't date or kiss or anything!

Through-out the entire book I kept making guesses and building up different plots for how the book would go. But none of them were right. I went through all the cats actually being the souls of the towns dead people, Owen cheating on Becca with Serena, Owen killing Serena, Casey killing Serena. Oh the possibilities that ran through my head. But nothing I guessed was ever completely right. This book was unpredictable and very creepy.

By the end of the book I started piecing things together. I was kind of hoping Serena's death would have been something more that what it was. It wasn't as sinister as the book led up to, honestly. 

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.


Disclaimer: I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.




COMING SOON...


1) What was the inspiration behind FERAL?

I’m a big fan of old movies—black and white psychological thrillers. And, as my first release (A BLUE SO DARK) revealed, I’m really interested in the workings of the mind. All that came into play with FERAL; I was also really thinking about friendship. About what would happen to a friendship if one person stepped in to save another—and was scarred for life as a result. I mean, we all say we do literally anything for the people in our lives. But what would happen if we actually did? If we stepped in to save our friend, and our own lives were changed because of serious injuries and our friend was not? Wouldn’t there be resentments? How would those resentments impact the healing process? Those were some of the issues I explored in FERAL.

2) Do you own any cats?

I don’t right now, but I grew up with two that I adored—Pete, and his mother, Tuffy. Tuffy was, as her name implies, born feral.

3) Are you currently working on any new books?

I’m always working on something new! My next YA is set to release with HarperCollins in ’16. My next MG (based on a family story) is on sub now. And I’ve also moved into the realm of independent publishing. My first indie release, FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS, is comedic women’s fiction:

Ever felt like a dog? I mean a real mutt. So did Mable…until she realized she was the princess starring in her own fairy tale: http://www.amazon.com/Fifth-Avenue-Fidos-Modern-Day-Fairy-ebook/dp/B00UCI9ED4/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

I’m also now working on PLAY IT AGAIN, the sequel to PLAYING HURT, my YA romance. I’ll be releasing sneak peeks, giveaways, writing tips, etc. on my newsletter: tinyletter.com/hollyschinder.

4) Besides Claire, who was your favorite character to write about?

Probably Auggie, the main character of my MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY. Auggie’s of the age when she realizes that she lives in the “poor” section of town—and to make matters worse, a newly-formed House Beautification Committee’s targeting Auggie’s neighborhood for improvements…and a junior member of the committee’s now got Auggie’s best friend for her own! To make her mark, Auggie begins to decorate her home with found object sculptures she makes with her grandfather (a trash hauler). Auggie’s just so sweet—so positive. She’s a character that was always so fantastic to come back to.

5) Do you think Serena and Claire would have been friends?

Absolutely! Both writers, both curious. Both also tried to stand up for their friends—one was seriously injured in the process, the other killed. They’re such similar creatures. It’s one of the reasons why Claire is so instantly intrigued by Serena’s story, why she wants to find out what really happened to her.

6) If the book were to continue, do you think Claire and Rich would have ended up together?

There’s definitely something between those two, isn’t there? Sometimes, there’s just too much going on with a character to incorporate a romantic element in the book itself. I felt that way about Aura in A BLUE SO DARK—that she couldn’t really explore her feelings for Jeremy while she’s dealing with the central conflict: a mentally ill mother, her fears that her own creativity might lead to mental instability for herself down the line. (It’s pretty obvious at the end of that book that she’s with Jeremy, though.) It’d be interesting to pick up with Claire and Rich later on down the road, see what happens between the two of them…

7) How did so many cats end up in Peculiar?

I’m a lifelong Ozarks girl, and I’ve been in rural areas where the “barn cat” populations exploded. It happens really quickly, actually (and the sound of unseen kittens scurrying around in a barn is kind of creepy). I imagine it happened just as quickly in my fictionalized Peculiar.
…You know, Peculiar really is a town in Missouri (my lifelong home state). I’ve never actually been there—the name of the city was just so perfect! I always knew I was going to include it in a book. One aspect of the setting I did barrow from real life was the ice storm. We were hit with a one-two-punch in SW Missouri in ’07 and ’08—both winters, we had really brutal ice storms. I kind of figure any rough patch in life will always have the payoff of eventually helping out with writing a future novel…

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