Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading .... After the Woods by Kim Savage

Monday, March 21, 2016

Just Finished Reading .... After the Woods by Kim Savage

After the Woods
by Kim Savage
Published by Farrar, Strauss and Giroux
on February 23, 2016

Source: ARC from publisher for review

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.

My take: The post office initially misdelivered my ARC of After the Woods, and I got it months after I was supposed to receive it. But I'm really happy that it found its way to me, because I enjoyed it.

At first, I really wasn't sure about it. After the Woods is one of those books that takes a while to make sense. The story opens with two girls dealing with the aftereffects of a traumatic event. Julia, still suffering from some memory issues, is angry and confused about what happened to her and annoyed by the well-meaning adults who promise to help her, from psychologists to a glamorous local news anchor. Julia's best friend Liv seems bent on self-destruction, dabbling with bad boyfriends and making bad choices.

There were several things I liked about After the Woods. Since I read a lot of YA, I often feel that after twenty pages or so of a book, I can see exactly where it's going: to a place I've been many times before. After the Woods felt a little more unexpected -- I didn't get the typical abducted girl story. I can't explain too much without spoilers, but a lot about this book isn't what it seems. After a bit, I did figure out where I thought the book was going, and I was right, but it did keep me guessing for some time. After a brief adjustment period, I liked Julia as a character and a narrator. Her voice is wry, self-deprecating and a little dark, reminding me a bit of Libby Day in Gillian Flynn's Dark Places.

Since the book's been out for a bit, I have read a few reviews, and see that some readers found the book's characters stereotypical. I agree and disagree. Yes, there are surly teenagers and troubled teenagers and tightly wound parents and a creepy villain. But I thought all of them were sharply and skillfully drawn in a way that made them all interesting.

If you enjoy psychological suspense, narrators with an edge, and books that keep you guessing, you should definitely try After the Woods.

This book will be one of my choices for this week's Freebie Friday, so if you'd like to read it, be sure to stop by!

18 comments:

  1. I've read several books with this premise, and liked most of them. This one sounds really good and creepy and I like how you described the narrator. I like a m/c with some edge. Great review :)

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    1. What I liked about this was that it took a familiar premise and went somewhere different with it...

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  2. So good to see that you liked this one. I can understand having some level of stereotypes in this. I just got it from the library and now I'm well prepared for things not to make sense

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  3. I love books like this and liked Dark Places. I originally thought this was something entirely different until I read a few reviews. I can't wait to get to it. Great review!

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    1. It did take some time to get going, but I definitely got a Dark Places vibe. Can't wait to see what you think!

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  4. Great to hear that it offers the unexpected

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  5. The synopsis of this one has had me intrigued and I'm happy to hear that it's not necessarily predictable and cliched. I definitely want to give it a try. Enjoyed your review, Jen!

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

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    1. I was surprised by it - I had theories and all of them were wrong!

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  6. Nice review Jen. I would have never given this book another look otherwise...

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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    1. I (guess that I) requested it and then forgot about it. Then it was lost. But I'm happy I gave it a try!

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  7. This one has had me intrigued too, not least because of that awesome cover. I've been enjoying suspense lately so this one is definitely on my radar at this point. I like it when a book keeps me guessing.

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    1. Look forward to seeing what you think!

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  8. Ooh this sounds interesting! I definitely love suspense novels and I need to read more and take a break from all the fantasy. Thanks for the review, gonna try to read this one if I have the time.

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    1. I absolutely love suspense so I'm glad about this new trend in YA....

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  9. I'm not sure why but the sound of this one makes me think of the The Glass Arrow... it was difficult for me to get caught up into at first but once I did I couldn't stop reading! I just loved it after that <3

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  10. You had me at "unexpected", Jen :) Thanks for the rec, I'm going to try this one.

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