the killing woods by lucy christopherReviewed by Melanie Kline

Emily’s father, Jon has Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and frequently fades into his own world staying in a bunker that he found in the woods. Emily worries about him and tries to watch over him. When The Killing Woods begins, Emily sees her father walking out of the woods with a dead girl draped across his arms. Emily recognizes her as Ashlee from school as they take her into the house and call the police. Of course, since Jon is the one who carried a dead girl out of the woods and has “zoned out” and cannot remember what happened or how he managed to be carrying her, he finds himself in jail and on trial for murder. Emily knows her father couldn’t have done such a thing and vows to save him.

Emily starts talking to Damon, Ashlee’s boyfriend, because of a punishment she gets for fighting to defend her father’s innocence. Slowly and warily they oddly become friends of a sort and both are trying to put the pieces together of what happened that night. Damon blacked out from being drunk and high while playing “The Game” with Ashlee and his other friends, Mack, Ed and Charlie. Emily is determined to prove that her father didn’t do it and Damon is desperately trying to remember what happened that night since he was the last one to see her before she wound up dead. Damon blames Jon, but is extremely troubled that he cannot remember what happened.

Emily and Damon are both very cautious in their relationship and yet find themselves attracted to each other. They are both working on proving their version of the murder true by venturing into the woods and the bunker attempting to put the pieces together.

The Killing Woods was a quite intriguing read. Just when I was sure that I knew what happened something else occurred to change my mind; in the end all I could do was feel sadness for Ashlee. I felt sadness for the way she died and the circumstances that brought her there. I highly recommend this story to everyone.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Scholastic. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.