**Disclaimer: I received a free advanced readers copy of In the Woods by Carrie Jones and Stephen E. Wedel for review purposes through NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge. Thank you to them for this opportunity.
In the Woods by Carrie Jones and Stephen E. Wedel is a young adult horror novel that releases on July 16th. I gave it three stars on GoodReads.
Here is the summary on GoodReads:
New York Times bestselling author Carrie Jones teams up with acclaimed co-writer Steven Wedel in this supernatural mystery
It should have been just another quiet night on the farm when Logan witnessed the attack, but it wasn’t.
Something is in the woods.
Hundreds of miles away, Chrystal’s plans for summer in Manhattan are abruptly upended when her dad reads tabloid coverage of some kind of grisly incident in Oklahoma. When they arrive to investigate, they find a witness: a surprisingly good-looking farm boy.
As townsfolk start disappearing and the attacks get ever closer, Logan and Chrystal will have to find out the truth about whatever’s hiding in the woods…before they become targets themselves.
The quality that drew me initially to the cover was the cover of this one. It caught my eye amongst the other covers on the pages of NetGalley. So I clicked on it and read the summary and found myself drawn to the idea of it. So I requested it and I was excited when it came in. I knew I had to prioritize it because the book was coming out pretty quickly, and I was definitely interested enough to prioritize it.
However, I found myself a little bit disappointed. I was engaged enough, but the writing just wasn’t spectacular. The twists usually came out of left field without many hints and it felt confusing and difficult to follow the big reveals. The big reveals were too sudden and the hiding of details to prolong suspense fell kind of flat.
I really liked the dual point of view telling of the story. Chrystal and Logan were interesting characters and it was nice to get to see inside their heads. Their skepticism was realistic and relatable, and I really enjoyed their perspectives. I also really liked the romance. It was cute how it developed and I loved how all of Logan’s family was basically pushing the two of them together because they just thought they would be cute together. The romance was awkward at the start and that felt really realistic.
I also liked the basic plot of the story and what the big monster turned out to be. It was a really interesting twist on something that I haven’t read a whole lot about. However, some of the reveals that came along with that were strange and some needed a bit more development. I realize that’s kind of vague, but I don’t really want to spoil the big reveal.
Chrystal’s dad was one of my favourite characters in the book. He was cute in his obsession with cryptozoology and I felt he was fairly well developed. Chrystal and Logan were clearly the best developed characters, but I felt like most of the side characters that we encountered regularly were well developed. However, the dialogue was occasionally awkward and felt unrealistic.
One thing that perplexed and bothered me was the constant, repetitive references to things Kierkegaard had said. There were times when half a page were quotes from Kierkegaard and I just didn’t really understand what that added to the story or why Chrystal was so obsessed with the philosopher. It didn’t really add anything to the story.
Another thing I really liked about the story was that it played with the reader’s beliefs about what happened. It wasn’t clear whether this story had a fantastical element until well into the book. It increased my level of suspense. I had to keep reading because I needed to know what was going to happen, and I didn’t want to put it down until everything ended.
So while this wasn’t my favourite thing I’ve read, it was fun. I had a giggle or two, and it kept me engaged enough that I wanted to see how everything played out at the end of the book. If anything that I’ve mentioned, or the summary at all intrigues you, I recommend checking out In the Woods when it releases on July 16th.
Thanks again to Macmillan-Tor/Forge and NetGalley for this opportunity. Thanks to you for reading.