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The Rattled Bones

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  441 Ratings  ·  133 Reviews
Unearthing years of buried secrets, Rilla Brae is haunted by ghostly visions tied to the tainted history of a mysterious island in this haunting novel from the author of The Girl Who Fell.

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 betwee
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published August 22nd 2017 by Simon Pulse
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Reving Not scary in a paranormal way, but the fact that it based on the true horrors that happened at Malaga Island, I think it is very scary.

Community Reviews

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Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Rilla Brae will be leaving coastal Maine in the fall when she heads to Rhode Island's Brown University. Rilla has been her dad Jonathan's sternman on the family lobster boat since age four. Jonathan's sudden death has devastated Rilla and her gram who raised her. She feels the heavy burden performing her dad's job of setting lobster traps and delivering the daily catch to the Yankee Fishermen's Coop. There are fishermen like Old Man Benner who want to "bully" her and take over her designated fis ...more
Trina (Between Chapters)
Content warnings: Discussion and examination of historical racism and discrimination against impoverished groups. Manipulation seen within a romantic relationship. Loss of a parent. Ghosts. Fear of drowning.

I'm really uncertain of my feelings on this book. It isn't bad, but it didn't live up to the expectations I had based on the synopsis. I think I'll settle for 3.5 stars.

What worked for me:
-There were a few creepy lines that were delivered just right to give me chills. (This only happened mayb
Kathleen Glasgow
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A smart, thrilling, intelligent exploration of grief and memory. The book is scary, wild, feminist, and interesting in all the best ways. She's created an excellent character in teen lobster boat captain Rilla; the terrain of Maine is explored fully and sensitively. You'll read this book for it's intelligent prose and smart pacing; you'll also get some some serious scares and thrills.
Adriana Mather
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Simply fantastic! For months after you read the last page of this lyrical story, you will still hear the song of the sea and wonder what mysteries remain on small seaside islands.

This magical and mournful tale of self-discovery joins newly graduated Rilla Brae as she struggles with the death of her father and her uncertain future. She discovers all is not as it seems in this sleepy seaside Maine village when a ghost leads her to explore a neighboring deserted island that was the site of a great
Sarah Glenn Marsh
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-blurbed
Equal parts beautiful and chilling, Shannon 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.

*And if the blurb above isn't enough incentive for you to read this beauty, let me tell you some of the things that make this one of my all-time top reads, starting with:

Karen Fortunati
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.

High school graduate Rilla has been raised by her father and grandmother. In this last summer before embarking for Brown on a full scholarship, her father's unexpected death causes Rilla to rethink her plans. But it's more t
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Ghosts and a deserted island and a girl raised on the ocean… this book is everything I love! EVERYTHING!!!!
S.M. Parker has either spent her entire life on a fishing boat off the coast of Maine, or she was a fisherman in a past life, because her lyrical prose had me firmly settled in this spooky coastal town. I felt like I was with Rilla each time she set out on her boat, navigating buoys and low lying fog, hauling up lobster traps and feeling the sea spray on her face. The author is masterful at
Kali Wallace
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I had a chance to read an advance copy of Shannon Parker's THE RATTLED BONES and I am so glad that I did.

This is a truly beautiful book. The Maine setting is stunningly rendered, from the natural beauty of the land and sea to the hardships of life on a lobster boat, from the stubborn pride of people whose families have lived there for generations to the cycles of poverty and abuse that afflict modern teenagers in small towns.

But most vivid of all is the sense of history in the place, and the c
Marci Curtis
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have no words.

Okay, so maybe I can come up with a few.

Fair warning, though: they will be insufficient.

I’ve never called a story exquisite. Not once. THE RATTLED BONES, though. It’s absolutely, painfully, artfully, unequivocally exquisite, with lines so lyrical that I read them two, three, even four times. I’m not even kidding. The prologue itself deserves a standing ovation, and the rest of the story…well, it’s just as mesmerizing. It’s all grace and honesty and subtlety, yet all the while it
Amber Smith
Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, books-i-blurbed
In this chilling story of grief, ghosts, and secrets, Parker takes us 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.

Highly, highly, highly recommend this one!

*I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
Lindsay Currie
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of THE RATTLED BONES and there aren’t really enough words to describe how I felt after finishing it. I adored S.M. Parker’s debut novel, THE GIRL WHO FELL, so I was anxious to get my hands on her newest masterpiece. Let me tell you, I inhaled this book. It stuck with me, latched itself to my heart in a way only the very best novels do. THE RATTLED BONES was everything I’d anticipated from S.M. Parker, and more. Much more.

This book has everything.
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Rattled Bones is one of those books that you read/devour and long after the imagery sticks with you. Shannon Parker wrote in such vivid detail that the scenes on the page came to life. I had goosebumps and chills. Rilla's story of discovering her island's tragic past is timeless. The interactions between characters were engaging and mysterious, so I felt like the pacing skipped along seamlessly. There wasn't one point where I wanted to put The Rattled Bones down. But mostly I loved the story ...more
Julie Eshbaugh
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was very fortunate to get to read an early copy of THE RATTLED BONES. I loved Shannon Parker's debut, THE GIRL WHO FELL, so I was very excited to see where she would take her readers next, and she did not disappoint. Set on the Maine coast, THE RATTLED BONES centers around Rilla, a seventeen year old taking over her father's lobster boat after his recent death. This is a story about loss, grief, and finding out where you belong, and yet it's also a spine-chilling ghost story. Parker's prose is ...more
S.A. Larsen
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Desperately chilling & beautiful! A haunting tale of one community's forbidden secrets and a voice that refused to be silenced.

This story had me from the first word. I'm a sucker for history, and even more so for any work of fiction that weaves in aspects from true life events to explore land, culture, and people. To make us ponder who we are, where we come from, and what our responsibilities are to both. Who are we if we can not look back and reexamine humanities past to ensure we grow in h
Lilly Richardson
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I did myself a favor by reading The Rattled Bones. Shannon M. Parker has (once again) created a masterpiece. She flawlessly captures the eerie beauty of Maine and pulls back the curtain on a piece of history that has stayed hidden for too long.
Grieving the sudden death of her father, high school graduate Rilla Brae is still coming to terms with her loss when she begins to see a ghostly girl haunting the shores of an abandoned, yet history-soaked island off the coast of Maine. Before long, the i
Monica Tesler
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
After devouring Parker's first book, The Girl Who Fell, I dove into The Rattled Bones with high expectations. This book didn't disappoint. Bones is creepy, gorgeous, and utterly absorbing. I loved the incorporation of the history of Malaga Island. I actually spent some time researching Malaga on my own after closing the book. A fabulous read!
Laurie Flynn
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I made no secret of my adoration for Shannon Parker's debut, THE GIRL WHO FELL. So when I got the chance to read her sophomore novel early, I considered myself very lucky indeed. And THE RATTLED BONES, a totally gorgeous and chilling read, exceeded all of my expectations. This is a mysterious, deep, haunting story that feels wholly original and immersive. Rilla is a main character who is so nuanced and complex that she is less of a character and more a full-fledged person you could know in real ...more
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very few books that I've read can be said to be both starkly earthy and gorgeously otherworldly all at the same time. But in the Maine fishing town (a richly-envisioned setting that author Parker clearly knows with her whole heart) where main character, seventeen year old lobster fisherwoman, Rilla's tale is set, this lovely combination of cruel reality is deftly interwoven with events and people long, long gone.

A suberb sophomore effort by a masterful new author!
Ruth Lehrer
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I confess, I am a wimp and the paranormal aspects of this book scared the crap out of me. The rest of you brave souls will be fine, I’m sure. That being said, The Rattled Bones book is not simply horror fluff. It is a lyrical story for our times. Parker uses a musical language that invokes the coast of Maine while at the same time weaving themes related to marginalization and the result of the oppressed being written out of history.

Rilla has finished high school and is supposed to go to college
Jessica Taylor
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Rilla Brae is officially my new favorite YA protagonist! Rilla doesn’t listen to maritime lore that claims a girl on a ship is bad luck. She’s a capable, tough-as-nails lobster fisherman and exactly the kind of protagonist I love to read. This story made my little feminist heart beat faster! Then there’s the writing – the gorgeous, sumptuous writing. S.M. Parker’s prose is so elegant that the descriptions read like poetry. The haunting itself is deliciously creepy and downright frightening, so m ...more
Bridget Hodder
May 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A triumph! Shannon Parker's astonishing second novel is a gripping, enthralling read that kept me awake at night--first, as I rushed to finish it, then later, as I pondered its meaning and revisited it in my heart.

The author effortlessly pulls us into the rhythms of a small lobstering community, as the protagonist, Rilla, prepares to go off to college in the wake of her father's recent death. But there are secrets hidden under the waters and in the sands of the abandoned island Rilla can see ou
Sonya Mukherjee
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A haunting, thrilling, and beautiful ghost story, THE RATTLED BONES explores how a disturbing past can reverberate through the present in so many ways. This is a novel full of fascinating multidimensional characters, starting of course with Rilla, the funny, independent, and empathic heroine. The relationships here are sometimes complicated - most prominently Rilla's relationship with her boyfriend Reed, even though the reader can see pretty quickly that he's gotta go - and I loved that complexi ...more
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that will stay with you long after you finish reading the last page. It's hauntingly beautiful, with a compelling and heart-wrenching mystery at its core. The protagonist, Rilla Brae, is a perfect mix of vulnerability and strength, and readers will find themselves rooting for her at every turn.
The setting -- a fishing village in Maine -- is so fully and richly portrayed that it is almost another character, and I was so enthralled with Parker's tale that I wanted to pack up and mov
Brooks Benjamin
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book has the perfect balance of mystery, spine-tingling suspense, and wonderfully rich descriptions that kept me up way past my bedtime. I'd tell myself if only read one more chapter, then get pulled right back in. The way Parker weaves together the history of Malaga with Rilla's need to discover why she continues seeing a girl on the abandoned island is so well done. The friendship between her and Sam is so perfectly real and heartwarming and I couldn't help but love every page where they ...more
Elly Swartz
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Rattled Bones - another exceptional read by Shannon Parker. Parker's lyrics are equal parts beautiful and haunting. The story weaves the past and the present seamlessly, both informing the reader with measured intent. Parker beautifully captures the heart and motivation of Rilla Brae. The reader, along with Rilla, needs to learn the truth, but is equally scared to turn the page. The pacing in this story makes it a read that's hard to put down. So block off time, grab a chair, and settle in. ...more
Jennie Brown
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
OMG! I was so LUCKY to have received an ARC of The Rattled Bones! I read Shannon's first book The Girl Who Fell and absolutely fell in love with it, so I knew that I wouldn't be disappointed with her sophomore novel --- and I was right. This book was amazing! I love how Shannon wove in elements of Maine's history, bone-tingling suspense, mystery, and a touch of romance. It was everything I expected and more, and I highly recommend it to everyone! Five-stars for sure! :)
rachel • typed truths
Sometimes it is easier to keep secrets than to live with our truth.

The Rattled Bones was a poignant story about grief, family and the way the past can intertwine with our present.

What I loved:

The grandmother-granddaughter relationship. It was just so sweet! I love seeing involved parents and guardians in YA but it is even nicer when those relationships are both central to the story and beautifully written. I loved their special bond over herbal remedies and teas and all their little rituals. T
Leah Bayer
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
There is a big difference between Young Adult fiction and books that happen to have a young adult protagonist. Given the praise heaped upon this and the lyrical-sounding summary I was hoping for the latter. I was very wrong.

This is the story of Rilla Brae (because YA heroines must have a super special unique name), whose father has passed away only a few days before the start of the book. Rilla Brae is a classic Mary Sue: she is physically strong, adept at traditionally masculine tasks like fish
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Rattled Bones is a beautifully written ghost story about how the past can haunt us in different ways. Wonderfully spooky and atmospheric, it's the kind of book that grabs you by the shoulders and doesn't let go even after you close the final page. A fantastic read.
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Shannon Parker lives on the Atlantic coast in a house full of boys. She’s traveled to over three dozen countries and has a few dozen more to go. She works in education and can usually be found rescuing dogs, chickens, old houses and wooden boats. Shannon has a weakness for chocolate chip cookies and ridiculous laughter—ideally, at the same time. Find her at
More about S.M. Parker

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