WAKE THE BONES by Elizabeth Kilcoyne
The woods are shifting, and the devil is returning.
At 19 years old, Laurel Early dropped out of college, returned home to the family tobacco farm where she grew up, and resumed her taxidermy projects with her best-friends-turned-family, Ricky, Garrett, and Isaac. The four have been working tireless days under the scorching Kentucky sun when they stumble upon a gruesome and gory sight at a nearby reopened well. And that’s just the start of the ghostly mysteries and eerie spirits that they find themselves continuously encountering in the woods. Now Laurel’s thoughts are not only consumed by the town’s whispers of her and her mother’s witchy powers, but also by the haunted grounds of her farm and the dangers the spirits are bringing.
Laurel has to confront her family’s past, unravel her dead mother’s terrifying legacy, and fight a monster in the woods, while tapping into her own powers that enable her to hear death stories straight from the bones of her taxidermy projects. With the help of her mother’s visits in her dreams, the town psychic Christine, and the stories from the animals’ bones, Laurel, Garrett, Ricky, and Isaac will do anything they can to save one another from the devil and secure their futures together.
This dark twist on Appalachian family folklore is a magical and magnetic debut about overcoming hardship and discovering who you really are. With a relatable protagonist struggling with the expectations set by others, WAKE THE BONES ultimately tells the story of the magic of loss and love. Diving into what it means when home is a place you both long for and are terrified of, and filled with lush descriptions of the natural world, it is perfect for fans of literary horror such as WHAT BIG TEETH, the cinematic folklore from Midsommar, and a deal with the devil like that in THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE. Both dark and gripping, this eerie southern gothic will have readers glued to each page and wondering what may be lurking in their own woods.
“Told in the third-person, the novel’s poetic language is atmospheric and evocative. Grounding depictions of the natural world are as vivid and lush as the descriptions of haunting horrors that are beautiful in their gruesomeness . . . In Kilcoyne, YA horror has found a new standard-bearer.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review