June Sylvester Saraceno

Feral, North Carolina, 1965


A NOSY YOUNG GIRL IS ON A QUEST to learn her family’s hidden truths no matter who it upsets. Ten-year-old Willie Mae doesn’t just live near the town of Feral; she’s a bit feral herself. Spending her days eavesdropping, exploring on her bike, and avoiding her brutish big brother, she’s determined to uncover the secrets adults are clearly trying to keep from her. Raised in a Holy Roller family, Willie discovers bleak realities and heart-wrenching lessons that shake her to the core of her soul. A finalist for the 2018 Southern Fried Karma Novel Contest, this splendid collage will reconnect readers with stirring memories of their own adolescence.

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This book is a great read. The words flow easily, the characters are delightful, and the story carries you away. Feral succeeds in both capturing the universal experience of childhood, while evoking a specific place and time. 

L. Oldershaw


An impressive first novel, both as story and in its fine use of language to bring either a landscape, a face, or a room colorfully to life. Masterfully told, full of discovery and surprise, the novel is both enjoyable and rewarding.

– Peter Makuck, 2010 Pulitzer Prize Nominee


This novel is a series of connected stories about 10-year-old Willie May who grows up in a southern town in 1965. I love the subtleties of these stories. 

– Robin L. Griffin