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Maine Literary Award Finalist
My Mom's Favorite Book
Maine-bred, independent Rilla Brae is no stranger to the deep. She knows the rhythms of hard work and harder seas. But when she experiences the sudden death of her father, the veil between the living and the dead blurs and she begins to be haunted by a girl on a nearby, uninhabited island. The girl floats a song over the waves, and it is as beautiful as it is terrifying. Familiar and distant.
Then Rilla meets Sam, a University of Southern Maine archeology student tasked with excavating the very island where the ghostly girl appeared. Sam sifts the earth looking for the cultural remains of an island people who were forcibly evicted by the state nearly a hundred years ago. Sam tells Rilla the island has a history no locals talk about—if they know about it at all—due to the shame the events brought to the working waterfront community. All Rilla knows for sure is that the island has always been there—an eerie presence anchored in the stormy sea. Now Sam’s work and the girl’s song lure Rilla to the island’s shores.
As Rilla helps Sam to unearth the island’s many secrets, Rilla’s visions grow—until the two discover a tragedy kept silent for years. And it’s a tragedy that has everything to do with Rilla’s past.
“The feminist ghost story you’ve been waiting for.” ~BUSTLE Magazine
“With a strong main character, a well-developed supporting cast, and illustrative story-telling, the author has succeeded in meshing multiple genres into one extraordinary YA novel.” ~School Library Connection
“An evocative backdrop of life as a lobsterman grounds the supernatural elements, and Rilla’s steeliness shines—she’s the kind of captain readers will eagerly follow. History and mystery meld beautifully in this ghost story with depth.” ~KIRKUS Reviews
“The tension here is masterfully crafted—the phenomena move from easily explained dreams to incessant tapping at the window to a chair rocking alone to scratched pleas for help underneath Rilla’s window and eventually to a drowning confrontation in the sea. Rilla’s panic at the thought of becoming like her mother is palpable throughout, and it becomes more urgent as the ghost’s anger increases. Readers will fall into a deep internet hole if they seek out further information on Malaga, but even those less curious will find Rilla’s tale—and that of the ghost—compelling.” ~BCCB (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
“Parker’s vivid descriptions of life on Maine’s coast and the lobstering business ground a haunting and atmospheric tale about the sea and reckoning with a community’s past.” ~Publishers Weekly
“Vivid descriptions of life on the Maine coast meld perfectly with the haunting and tragically compelling story of Malaga, an island that actually exists. This ghost story will grab readers, not letting go until the final words. This is a recommended purchase for libraries serving young adult readers.” ~VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)
“Ideal for readers who love the books of Cat Winters or atmospheric horror grounded in realism.” ~Booklist
“A beautiful, mournful tale of a grieving young woman who faces, with courage and empathy, the dark secrets of her family’s history and the unknown terrain of her future. The Rattled Bones is utterly steeped in the atmosphere and hardships of life on the Maine coast, exploring a shameful and little-known episode of American history with unflinching honesty and obvious respect.” ~Kali Wallace, author of Shallow Graves and The Memory Trees
“An electrifying, taut tale of the sea, grief, and memory that will take your breath away. You will not soon forget Rilla Brae, Malaga Island, or S.M. Parker’s gorgeous, scary story. Keep the lights on.” ~Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times bestselling author, Girl in Pieces
“Gorgeous and lyrical, Parker’s mesmerizing story is a siren’s song that lures you into a beautiful fog of secrets and mystery.” ~Adriana Mather, New York Times bestselling author of How to Hang a Witch
“In this chilling story of grief, ghosts, and secrets, Parker leads you on a journey that reveals a deep and unexpected connection between the past and the present. Full of twists and turns, darkness and light, THE RATTLED BONES will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.” ~Amber Smith, New York Times bestselling author of The Way I Used to Be
“Equal parts beautiful and chilling, Shannon M. Parker’s sophomore novel will sweep you away to the icy waters and small coastal towns of Maine, where the past refuses to be ignored and family secrets are dredged to the surface with the day’s catch. Unputdownable, and like the roar of the sea once you’ve heard it, unforgettable.” ~Sarah Glenn Marsh, author of Fear the Drowning Deep
“THE RATTLED BONES is like a ghost story told around a bonfire on a cold northern beach. This exquisite, stormy mystery and its seafaring heroine will keep you reading long into the night.” ~Rebecca Podos, author of The Mystery of Hollow Places
“In THE GIRL WHO FELL, Shannon Parker established herself as a master at weaving a compelling story in a high stakes, thrilling ride of a read. She does it again, superbly, in The Rattled Bones, where a haunting on the Maine coastline blurs the line between sanity and madness.” ~Karen Fortunati, author of The Weight of Zero
“Gorgeous yet ghostly. Brave Rilla Brae is the ultimate heroine I wish I had the guts to be.” ~Marisa Reichardt, author of Underwater, Aftershocks and Juniper Jade v. Her Parents
“Shannon M. Parker has (once again) created a masterpiece. THE RATTLED BONES flawlessly captures the eerie beauty of Maine and pulls back the curtain on a piece of history that has stayed hidden for too long.” ~Lilly Richardson, 18-year-old YA reader.