Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff, Razorbill, 2014. ISBN: 9781595146380. Reviewed by, John R. Clark, MLIS.
Want creepy? Want Southern Gothic with a paranormal twist? Read this book and get both. Clementine has been hidden away in the cellar under what remains of her house. She’s held by willow roots and floats in a dream state, aware of subtle sounds and movement around her. She’s been there for years, ever since someone took her there during what was called The Reckoning, a time when townspeople went crazy and torched homes of those they thought were involved in the Craft. When a strange boy named Fisher frees her, she discovers it’s been years since that insane night. Her home is destroyed, her mother dead and her favorite aunt wanders about in a haze, unable or unwilling to recognize her.
Clementine struggles to adjust with the help of her cousin Shiny who also possesses the power townspeople refer to as the Craft. Shiny tries to warn her off Fisher, but the attraction between the two is too powerful. They, along with Rae, a black girl who wasn’t targeted during the Reckoning, Fisher and Davenport, the sad daughter of a really crazy and dangerous man, make up a group Fisher’s grandmother says matches a surreal star painting that hangs in town. When they all become aware of their connection, the Craft in a scary area known as the Hollow, starts coming to life again and the teens must find a way to get things back to normal (or as normal as things can get when you live in a really creepy and unstable place).
How they survive makes for a really gripping read. There’s violence and creepiness aplenty, so I wouldn’t suggest this for younger teens. YA readers who like industrial strength strange with some very interesting characters will really like this book.