Author: Kim Savage
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Contemporary
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 2 stars
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Would you risk your life to save your best friend?
Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks. One year later, Liv seems bent on self-destruction, starving herself, doing drugs, and hooking up with a violent new boyfriend. A dead girl turns up in those same woods, and Julia’s memories resurface alongside clues unearthed by an ambitious reporter that link the girl to Julia’s abductor. As the devastating truth becomes clear, Julia realizes that after the woods was just the beginning.
Kirkus calls After the Woods “A riveting exploration of what it’s like when the enemy is much closer than you suspect.” (starred review, Nov. 1, 2015)
After The Woods received some killer reviews on Goodreads. At first, that surprised me a little, because honestly, I didn’t like it that much. So maybe I just didn’t get it, or maybe I’m not the intended audience for this book – I have to admit I read a lot of thrillers, so I don’t get scared easily, and this book certainly didn’t succeed in doing that. Given that most people do seem to like it, don’t be put off by my review. Tastes differ, and maybe I just have peculiar taste.
Anyway, on to the review. Two girls go into the woods. Julia and Liv. But only one makes it out – Liv. Julia spends two more days in the woods with a mad man, and narrowly manages to escape. Fast-forward one year. Liv is bent on self-destruction, almost like she was the one traumatized, not Julia. A dead girl is found in the woods, and this brings back all the memories o what happened to Julia in the woods. As she starts to uncover the truth, she learns horrible secrets she never wished she knew…
At first glance, the plot sounds great. And it starts off with a bang too. Unfortunately, it quickly goes downhill from there. First of all, the book has no suspense. It was fairly obvious to me what had happened even from the start. The killer is dead too, by the way, so that’s solved already. The whole media aspect was interesting but pushed a tad too far, becoming slightly unrealistic.
I did like Julia, though. She was tenacious, intelligent, witty, and I liked her interactions with the other characters. I could’ve done without the romance. It didn’t really add to the narrative, and I thought the characters lacked chemistry.
All in all, it was enjoyable, but not entirely my cup of tea. I thought it would have more suspense and would keep me on the edge of my seat – alas, not.