February 23, 2016

After the Woods Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for AFTER THE WOODS! Today I'll be sharing my review of the book with you - and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

After the Woods
Author: Kim Savage
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Release Date: February 23, 2016
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Rating: 4.5 Stars


Would you risk your life to save your best friend? 

Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks. One year later, Liv seems bent on self-destruction, starving herself, doing drugs, and hooking up with a violent new boyfriend. A dead girl turns up in those same woods, and Julia’s memories resurface alongside clues unearthed by an ambitious reporter that link the girl to Julia’s abductor. As the devastating truth becomes clear, Julia realizes that after the woods was just the beginning.
After the Woods is a chilling young adult mystery/thriller novel that will have readers eagerly devouring its pages to see what will happen next. The story is unique and original with rounded characters and a plot full of unexpected twists and turns. One of the things that makes this book so different from others like it is that the story doesn't focus solely on what happened while our main character, Julia, was in the woods. It deals almost entirely with what happens in Julia's life after she was rescued. I found this to be a refreshing vantage point and it didn't take away from the suspense at all. Julia - our main character and narrator - was taken into the woods by a dangerous man and stayed there for 48 hours. We learn bits and pieces of what happened during that time as Julia experiences flashbacks that allow her to remember details of those days that had been previously locked away in her mind. I loved trying to decipher all of the memories and figure out what happened before the characters do - it's one of the many reasons why I love this genre so much. 
Aside from the flashbacks and details of what happened to Julia in the woods, we get to see how the experience changed her and Liv - the friend she rescued from the attacker. This was a very intriguing part of the book and I enjoyed seeing how the experience had changed each girl. During this part of the novel, we are able to see the real life consequences Julia and Liv must deal with every day. It speaks in detail about PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and how the trauma impacted Julia's life and changed her in so many ways. I really liked that the author included this topic in the book because it's so relevant to the story and to today's society. I liked watching Julia change and grow during the book - as she begins to remember everything that happened to her as well as dealing with it and eventually being able to heal and move on with her life. One of the final things that I loved about the story was the author's writing style; the book is told in the first person point of view - from Julia's perspective. I'm a huge fan of first person POV because of the deeply personal connection the reader can develop with the narrator - which is exactly what happened for me with this book. I found myself empathizing and relating to Julia right from the beginning of the story, and those feelings only grew stronger throughout the novel. We get to know everything about Julia - her thoughts, fears, feelings, hopes and dreams, memories, and so much more. By the end of the book, it felt like I had been right there alongside Julia the entire time - or as if she was telling me the story herself or in a journal - which made it all the more realistic for me. Overall, this was a fantastic YA mystery/thriller with a lot more going on than meets the eye. The writing style was solid and well done, which gives the book a complexity that wouldn't have otherwise been possible. I definitely recommend this book for fans of the genre along with readers who enjoy suspense, horror, and survival stories!
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Kim Savage is the author of AFTER THE WOODS, a debut psychological thriller for young adults coming on Feb 23, 2016 with Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Macmillan. Her second thriller for young adults comes from FSG is 2017. Before writing fiction, she worked as business journalist, pitching stories along the lines of “Stigmatized Properties: When Murder Kills Property Values”. You get the idea.

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