Review: Wake the Bones by Elizabeth Kilcoyne (Spoiler-Free)
~ Thank you to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for providing me with an early copy in exchange for an honest review! RELEASE DATE: July 12, 2022 ~
Then a bird in the sycamore tree called to another in the air, and the world moved into motion, another inhale in an endless pattern of life and death.*
The body horror of The Only Good Indians meets the Langmore family from Ozark.
I genuinely think that's the best way to describe this book.
Despite the fact that I started this review by drawing comparisons, I think this book is very unique. It follows a 19-year-old protagonist while maintaining a place in the YA genre, which is something I particularly enjoyed as a 19-year-old reader. I find that often the 18-21 age range is a bit neglected in literature.
The other aspect I found particularly unique in this book is the setting. Wake the Bones takes place in rural Kentucky and follows a family stuck in their town working on their tobacco farm. While obviously there are many books that take place in settings like this, I do think it's rarer in YA, and I found the perspective very interesting to read from as someone who grew up in an area the opposite of rural.
The horror element of this book is what is probably the least unique, but I still found it effective. There's a devil haunting Laurel and her family and she must muster up the power to stop it. I always appreciate when magic or monsters in horror books have a larger meaning than just "big bad here to eat you," and this book definitely delivered on that front.
The writing is also a stand-out. While I did have some issues with pacing, the prose itself was beautiful. I found myself highlighting multiple passages.
Wake the Bones is a grotesque yet powerful tale of grief and human connection. I'll definitely be keeping my eye out for further books by this author.
*This quote is from an uncorrected copy of the novel and should be compared against the finished work.