#50 The Woods by Vanessa Savage

For Tess, her older sister Bella is her whole world. She’s smart and beautiful and popular – everything Tess isn’t – and since the death of their mother it’s just been them and their grieving father.

But now a new family has moved into the empty house on the edge of the woods, bringing with them a world of boys and alcohol, and Tess can feel her sister slipping away from her. Until the bodies of two local schoolgirls are found in the woods, and Tess is convinced that this new family has something to hide.

As events threaten to destroy everything they hold dear, Bella and Tess determine to bring the truth to light.

So the two girls go into the woods . . .

Hardback | 400 pages

Publisher: Sphere (23 Jan. 2020)

Target Audience: Adult Thriller/Crime

– I only got this book recently (last couple of months!) and have been looking forward to reading it. The blurb makes the story sound explosive and after reading to chapter 3 I think this is going to be a book with many avenues to explore and many lies to be told.

Easy as sliced bread. The book is told through the POV of Tess, so whether you’re reading the present or the past chapters, it is very easy to become grounded and follow along what’s happening without difficulty.

There were so many influential characters to this book, but I am hesitant to talk about them too much in case I give something away. Tess is the main character, it is her POV that leads the story. She is surrounded by a cast of characters that all bring something to the table. Max, Lena, Jack, Sean, Julia, Bella, and Greg. Each one of these characters had a committed story and a fleshed-out backstory. It was impossible to see them as anything other than how Tess saw them, but it was interesting to learn about them through the present chapters and the past chapters.

I felt a lot for Tess as I read this book. I saw her as a victim and as a liar. But I saw those two parts of her separately, I never saw them as her together. I think Tess became a struggle character who didn’t get the nurturing she needed as a child and I think much of what I saw in her character was down to others continually treating her as a younger version of herself, or with ‘kid gloves’.

Tess’s spiral in the book was curious and definitely gave me a lot of theories as to what had happened and what was happening now. It was a curious entanglement of description and actions that formed the bases of Tess’s character portrayal.

– It’s funny because this book is set in England and yet it reads like a book set in a small town of America. Even though there were references to London, I still found myself getting confused over where it was actually set. However, I was still able to visualise everything successfully, there weren’t that many scene changes and all the characters involved had very distinct voices.

I was greatly impressed with this book until I got to the ending. I think the ending was expected. When I read a book like this, I always have so many theories on where it’s going to go and what the final reveal will be, and I enjoy the shock element of being surprised at the end. This book was set up to make you think and theorise about the ending and yet when the ending came it felt too generic and predictable. I don’t know, I think I just expected more than what I got.

Others may disagree with me, which is fine.

I still thought this was a good book. There is such a rush of characters to get involved in and Tess’s journey from beginning to end is certainly captivating and explosive. The characters involved were surprising and continually kept me on my toes. At times, I didn’t even know what to think about them. I began to get as paranoid about the characters as Tess was. The book has a very gripping style of writing, it draws you in and tantalises you with breadcrumbs. 

I would recommend this book to others and I think there is enough in it to attract a wide variety of readers.

I did enjoy this book 99%. It was only that 1% ending that irritated me and I’ve touched on that above. Otherwise, I thought this was a complicated and well thought out book that had a compelling storyline and unpredictable characters. I was intrigued by the book blurb, the cover was gorgeous, but I stayed for the story.

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