My Predictions: The Rattled Bones

August 18, 2017
Jill Hacking
Riveted Editorial Board

Guess who’s back and ready to spoil another book with her powers of prediction? Me, obvs. Honestly, I’m getting so good at it that I don’t even have to read books anymore. Well ok, I still do, but it’s just to prove that I’m right. Or *ahem* ok…so maybe I wasn’t exactly right last time…but I’m definitely going to be right this time.

Ok, so this time we’re taking a look at The Rattled Bones by S. M. Parker, (extended excerpt available until August 28!) Here’s the description so we are all on the same page:

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 has 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 ghostly 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.


Going from this description, you might assume that Rilla is descended from the mysterious island people and that the ghost girl is trying to alert her to their history. You’d be wrong. Rilla is actually descended from mermaids that inhabit the area around an island just to the northeast of the ghost girl’s island, and let me tell you, they are not friends. The mermaids and the ghosts (the girl is their leader) are at war because, you guessed it, love. The mermaid queen called dibs on Sam, the archeology student, but one of the ghost people wants him too. As a descendant of the mermaids, Rilla should really take their side and hand over the human guy, but she doesn’t know about her heritage and the ghosts are using this to their advantage. Now the ghost girl is subliminally convincing Rilla to keep Sam on the island once he finishes his archaeological dig. Lots of confusing dreams and blackouts ensue, and in all the excavating, the pair discovers that they are siblings (a mermaid leaves a certificate of Sam’s aquatic birth on the ghost island shore in hopes of luring Sam off the island). He doesn’t leave though, and it all comes to a head when the ghosts take Rilla and Sam hostage. Sam promises to use his archeological prowess for good and make them a little museum if they’ll just let Rilla go, but Greg, the ghost in love with Sam, is not having it. Just as he’s going in for what is essentially an off-brand Dementor’s kiss, Rilla’s dad (yep, faked his death so he could go be a merman in peace) bursts in. He’s given up his fin and place with the mermaids to save his daughter and their very own Helen-of-University-of-Southern-Maine. It works. The ghosts are so disturbed and distracted by his new, pickle-y legs that Rilla and Sam crawl out of the metaphysical net of twine and anguish holding them captive. The three run for the water, determined to escape the mermaids and ghosts forever. And my friends, that’s where the book ends! I know, cliffhanger! Hopefully there’s a sequel. My guess is there will be mermaids, and maybe robots.

So now that you’ve read my prediction, you have to tell me if I’m right. Start reading now and let me know!



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