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It’s an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp—the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn’t return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp’s done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance—and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.

This debut novel is full of atmosphere, twists and turns, and a swoon-worthy romance.


Rating:  3.5/5

My favourite reviewer read this book and liked it, so I read it based on her recommendation. It was, surprisingly, below expectations. I liked the setting of the book, and it did creep me out at certain points, but I expected something much, much darker and scarier. I was definitely not scared enough.

As the synopsis of the book said, Sterling’s brother, Phineas, ran into the swamp one day and a girl, Lenora May, came out in his place. No one remembered Phineas afterwards, except for Sterling. She was desperate to save him, but when nobody else remembered, she couldn’t do anything. Until Heath told her that he believed her. They started forming a connection and blah, blah, blah, and then they save Phineas! Yay! It is basically EXACTLY as the synopsis says.

It is extremely difficult to bore me. When I’m bored, it’s usually because the book is really, really long. But this book was short and still managed to do so. I was really bored in the middle of the book because there was so much ANGST going on. The plot was also really quite draggy in the first 60% of the book and the romance was boring. It was all really BORINGGGGGGGGGGGGG. The author attempted a twist in the book, but I saw it coming from 100000000 miles away :/

bored face

Sterling was kind of a brat, and I couldn’t really see much of her personality besides her love for her brother. Heath felt kind of one-dimensional, so I couldn’t really empathise with him. My favourite character was actually Lenora May, because she wasn’t completely filled with anger, and because she was also quite sweet.

The last 30-40% of the book was pretty decent as it had more action scenes (and also less angst), which managed to (kind of) redeem some of the bad parts. Overall, plot was completely predictable, way too much angst in the first part, romance was boring, but the ending was decent. Wouldn’t recommend it too much, but if you don’t mind the lack of action scenes, it’s a decent book.

With howls and groans and pleading, dear,

The swamp will call you near,

Beware the songs it sings to you,

Beware the things you hear.