Author: Natalie C. Parker.
Published: October 21st 2014 by HarperTeen.
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.
Sterling’s brother Phin disappeared into the town swamp, a place everybody fears. There is one rule: you never go into the swamp. That’s why the town built a wall, but the day Phin runs away, his life is taken over by a girl called Lenora. Sterling is the only one who still remembers what truly happens and her parents think she had a melt-down. Heath, the boy she flirted with last year, is the only one who believes her. It’s up to them to find a way to to get Phin, and everyone’s memory, back.
There was a very creepy atmosphere. The swamp is a mysterious place and a lot of people know scary stories about things that took place there. I liked the idea of stealing someone’s life. Everybody thinks Lenore is Sterling’s real sister and even Sterling is sometimes surprised by memories of her and Lenore. It’s like Phin never existed and it’s the perfect set-up for a rescue mission.
The only thing is that the book switches around the end. We finally figure out what is going on with Lenore and how Sterling might save her brother, but it’s a weird twist. It didn’t feel like a proper solution for this type of story. It’s pretty tame and it doesn’t end in the big BANG I expected. I was left with an almost fairytale-like attempt, while I was hoping for something action-packed and bloody. I mean, look at the cover..
Nevertheless, the writing-style was pleasant. It was an easy book to read and I flew through the pages. Sterling was a good character. Nothing too special, but I like how she fought for her brother and how her growing feelings for Heath doesn’t cloud her judgement. Heath wasn’t bad either, especially when you find out more about him and his secret. It made sense that the two of them have to work together to unravel the swamp's mystery.
The only character I couldn’t care less about was Sterling’s brother and this was a bit unfortunate. He did something I couldn’t appreciate and I think he deserved a little punishment. While it wasn't the story I expected, I didn't think it was bad.