Saturday, February 27, 2016

#Saturday Review - After The Woods by Kim Savage (Young Adult, Thriller)

Series: Standalone
Format: Paperback, 320 pages
Release Date: February 23, 2016
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Girox
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery

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 the debut novel for author Kim Savage. The story is a young adult psychological thriller that focuses on 16-year old Julia Spunk, and her best friend Olivia Lapin. Nearly a year ago, the best friends were doing a bit of cross country training in the woods, when Olivia was attacked by a strange man. Julia attacked the man allowing Olivia to escape and call the police. 

Two days later, Julia wandered out of the woods worse for wear, while her captor, Donald Jessup, ended up killing himself in police custody. Over the past year, through writing in her notebooks, Julia has tried to piece together what really happened that day by using her intuition and demand for answers. Things just don't add up. Enter the manipulative reporter Paula Papademetriou who  would sell her first born to get the scoop on what happened to Julia and Olivia.

Aspects of her capture and Olivia's strange behavior since then just don't add up, especially the bad boy she suddenly finds herself in love with. Sometimes it takes a trigger, like the body of another victim to trigger the minds closed doors. Sometimes, doing what's right, saving your best friend from being attacked, isn't necessary what's best in the long term. Sometimes the truth is hidden in plan sight. 

Thanks to being very inquisitive about her experiences, Julia becomes her own investigative reporter. Secrets are uncovered via flashbacks and events that have happened since that day. Then you start to question everything you remembered about your captive, your captivity, and your best friend's actions since that fateful day.

After The Woods is a story that will definitely keep you on your toes. This is a story that deals with Julia's coping mechanism, while also exploring how much you truly trust your best friend. Liv's character is one that is totally opposite of Julia. While Julia was brave, a bit on the sarcastic side, and loyal to a fault to her friend, Liv's personality took a turn towards the dark side. Whenever someone says it is a matter of nature, vs nurture, you can point directly to Liv's character for reference.  

While there isn't any solid romantic aspects to the story, there is the hint of being one between Julia and a boy named Kellan, whose father lead the charge for Julia's return and to uncover what happened to her. I think that Kellan, given the chance, is a good fit for Julia even with all her baggage and her inability to let things rest until the truth finally comes out.

I dare say that the ending through me into a bit of a tizzy. I knew the second half of the book would fill the gaps in Julia's memory while closing out her desire for answers. While I knew that something was hinky about Olivia, the ending definitely grated my nerves and made me feel even more for Julia than I did at the start. If you are looking a case of nature vs nurture, look no further than Olivia and her relationship with her parents.  

1 comment:

  1. OOoh nice! This one sounds rather good! I love a good YA thriller/mystery! I have yet to read this one but hearing all sorts of good things! Glad it was a good read for you too! Great review!