The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher
"Fatal attraction, primal fear, survival in the forest: From the author of the Printz Honor Book STOLEN, the highly anticipated thriller about deadly games played in the dark.
Ashlee Parker is dead, and Emily Shepherd's dad is accused of the crime. A former soldier suffering from PTSD, he emerges from the woods carrying the girl's broken body. "Gone," he says, then retreats into silence.
What really happened that wild night? Emily knows in her bones that her father is innocent -- isn't he? Before he's convicted, she's got to find out the truth. Does Damon Hilary, Ashlee's charismatic boyfriend, have the answers? Or is he only playing games with her -- the kinds of games that can kill?"- summary from Amazon
This is my first Lucy Christopher book and it certainly won't be my last. From what I've heard of her previous books, she's a fantastically gifted writer, but I don't think this book showcases that very well. It is a really good mystery thriller, dealing with some topical issues like PTSD among other things (one of the things I can't mention as it would give away the ending) and I can tell that Christopher is a good writer, but it wasn't necessarily a book I'd go around recommending to everyone I see upon finishing it.
I really enjoyed the dual perspective (which I've noticed is happening in a lot of YA recently) and it really allowed for some great characterization on Emily and Damon's parts. The voices are done very differently and Damon sounds like a real teen boy, which can be hard to capture. The book can be a bit slow-moving and introspective at times as the characters try to figure out what really happened that night, which kind of brings me to another point. There are other characters in the novel aside from Emily and Damon, but I really felt like none of them were really explored or fleshed out. Like, they show up here and there but a lot of the novel is very much focused on Emily and Damon's own personal journeys as well as their journey with each other once they cross paths. It feels very isolated and I think that's part of the reason why the book wasn't OMGAMAZING for me. A mystery needs to provide more in its supporting characters/suspects, and that just didn't happen.
Overall though, it is a good book and I can tell that Christopher is a talented writer. I'm eager to go back and read some of her previous novels to see if they're as good as people say.
Learn more about the book below with the official trailer and Lucy reading Chapter 1, then I'm holding a giveaway for two copies of the book! You can also go to the book's website to learn more.
Thanks to Scholastic, I have two hardcover copies of The Killing Woods to give away! The contest is open only to US mailing addresses. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with your email address by Monday, January 20 at 9pm EST. If there are any questions, leave them in the comments and I'll address them.
FTC: Received ARC unsolicited from Scholastic. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.