Friday, February 7, 2014

The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher

Emily's dad, a former soldier in the army suffering from PTSD, emerges from the woods with the body of a young girl.  Ashlee Parker had her whole life ahead of her, until she apparently came across Mr. Shepherd in the midst of a flashback.  Mr. Shepherd claims he can't remember what happened in the woods that night, but he admits to having mental issues and pleads guilty to manslaughter.  Now while the courts decide if they will accept the plea or push for a harsher sentence, Emily wants to find out what really went on in those woods that night.
Damon and his friends play games in Darkwood.  Ashlee played with them too.  They were playing that night.  Damon can't remember what happened, but he wants to believe he walked his girlfriend back to the path that would take her to her house.  Best case scenario: he is a lousy boyfriend who passed out in the woods and didn't walk her back... Worse case scenario: well he doesn't want to think about that.  Either way the guilt is eating him alive.  With Emily's dad being charged he should feel relieved, but he just can't.  If only he can convince Emily that her dad did it, then maybe he can let go of the gnawing feeling that he's missing something really important.

I love YA Mysteries!  It seems like there should be more of them because they are so fun to read.  Whatever else I felt about this book, I was really into the mystery aspect of it and was totally guessing until the end.

I really enjoyed how the mystery was laid out.  I could not wait to find out what this Game was that was being played by Damon and his friends.  I definitely thought it was going to be something much different than it was, but that was fine because the build up was awesome.  The only character that felt like an open-book to me was Emily.  She was the only one who didn't have secrets.  So reading from her angle, I felt like I could trust it.  When reading from Damon's view, I really didn't know what to think and that was kind of fun.

The thing I was not so into was that I felt like the atmosphere became too much of the focus.  It felt like the author was so focused on making these woods seem creepy, that she didn't really pay attention to the characters as much as I would have liked.  I mean I really liked Damon.  He was angry, sad, guilt-ridden, but I wanted to like KNOW him a little more. Also it was like Emily was a mirror image of Damon and that just felt blah.  And who exactly was this Ashlee girl?  I would have liked to known what exactly made her tick too.

The woods to me were cool, but the name Darkwood got on my nerves for some reason.  Like obviously bad things happen in a place called Darkwood.  It was just too easy.  And the way the characters were completely obsessed with woods.  I guess in 5th or 6th grade I could see that, but by high school I don't see what the big deal is about a pile of trees.  Why were they so obsessed with the woods??  I didn't get it.

Maybe I'm just being a little too nit-picky here.  The book was really interesting.  The whole army element was cool to read about and I really liked that I did NOT know who the real killer was.  I thought I definitely had it pegged in the beginning, but I was wrong and that was great.

OVERALL: A really intriguing YA Mystery that is full of atmosphere.  I really liked the story and wish there was more focus on that and less focus on rolling around in the leaves.  I would definitely say this is worth reading, but it wasn't like mind blowing or anything.

This Book Contains:
  • Woods
  • Nature
  • Army
  • Photography
  • PTSD
  • A UK setting
  • Alternating Viewpoints

My Rating:


How I got this book: Thanks to Netgalley and Chicken House/Scholastic for allowing me to read and honestly review this book
Date Published: 10/3/2013

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this review! I have this one sitting on my shelf and have been wondering about it. I loved her book STOLEN.