Behold The Bones is the second in the Beware The Wild series – but focuses in on a separate character than in the first book. Although the first book doesn’t need to have been read to enjoy this second volume, nuances will be lost since we are now focusing on a small pack of friends (Sterling in the first book, Candy in this second book, and perhaps Abigail in the third). Although not as moody or atmospheric as the blurb would have you believe, this is still a solid read that does manage to buck quite a few YA genre cliches.
Story: Candy is very much a part of her Louisiana swamp town – and she is still reeling from the aftermath of her friend Sterling’s brush with the Shine in the swamp. Turns out, the Shine avoids Candy and everyone else sees the ghosts/haints except for her. When the supernatural dealings in the town make headline news, a TV ghost hunter moves his family in town with special sights on Candy and her unusual talent. Turns out, they have a secret agenda and want something very specific from Candy – something she does not want to give.
First and foremost, this is an urban fantasy (and not a horror or thriller). It’s much more about the lives of the teens and their interactions with a bit of the mystical in the swamp. As with the first book, the whole “Shine” is ill defined and honestly kind of silly. But it’s not really the point of the story so easily glossed over.
Where the book really stands out is that we don’t have the usual assortment of straight white girls and their mysterious boyfriends. Rather, we have characters of several races and sexual orientations. Also, for once the girl doesn’t go for the most obvious guy around! That was the real twist in the book – not Candy’s abilities or the secret of the swamp.
This series has an interesting mix of characters who are very teen – conflicted, openly sexual, abusing alcohol and drugs, etc., and with a mix of social and health problems. Yet it never runs to maudlin or becomes dreary. If the ‘bad guys’ are a bit silly and underdeveloped, well, I have to admit that rather works in favor of the story to keep it easy to read and flowing. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.