July 24, 2012

Review: The Little Woods by McCormick Templeman

The Little Woods
Author: McCormick Templeman
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Release Date: July 10, 2012


Are the woods behind St. Bede's Academy really haunted, or does bad stuff just happen there? When Calista Wood, a new student, arrives midway through her junior year, St. Bede's feels like a normal school . . . until she discovers that a girl had disappeared a couple of months earlier. Some kids think she ran away, others think she was murdered, but it's only when Cally starts digging around that she finds the startling truth.

Watch as Cally enters a world of privilege, weekend-long parties, high school romances, and . . . well-kept secrets. This page-turner will appeal to teens looking for a fast-paced thriller. Written in a voice at once gripping and crystal clear, debut novelist, McCormick Templeman, will take readers on a twisting and turning journey as only a "new girl" can experience.


The Little Woods is a great YA mystery novel that takes the reader into the secret depths of high class boarding schools. We learn early in the book that our heroine, Cally, has suffered a devastating loss several years ago. Due to this loss, she is drawn to St. Bede's Academy, a private boarding school with ties to her past. Once at the school, Cally's new friends and classmates tell her about the stretch of woods outside the school that are rumored to be haunted. There's also the mystery of the girl who disappeared last semester - what really happened to her? Cally's curiosity about the school, the woods, and her classmates begins to deepen as she is drawn further and further into the history of the school and the secrets it holds.

After reading the description for the book, I was expecting more paranormal elements to be present in the book - but there really isn't much in that respect. The mystery of the novel is enticing and keeps the reader trying to figure out the truth - which makes the story a page turner. I liked Cally's character - she was strong and didn't hide from whatever she was afraid of. The rest of the story - the parts that revolved around her classmates and the general boarding school setting - seemed really cliched to me. They were the expected snobby brats who liked to party and misbehave and who also had tons of secrets and treated people like trash. The school looked the other way, of course, and seemed to have no real desire in what was actually happening on campus. These were expected and I found that they were so predictable to be boring and a bit of a turn-off. 

The narrative of the novel was well written with a solid backstory that draws the reader in and preps for the mystery that is the main focus of the story. I had the bad guy figured out pretty early on, but the little twists that the author threw in kept me intrigued and interested to the end of the book. I highly recommend this for fans of mysteries and thrillers with a YA twist.


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